Food & Wine

Drinking too much coffee can make you nervous and irritable

Updated: 05 Jul 2011
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At a certain point coffee no longer works as a pick-me-up but instead leads to a loss in concentration as well as increased nervousness and irritability.

According to Lucie Nusbaum from Germany's Association of Nutritionists, once this breaking point has been reached, further cups of coffee no longer lead to improved concentration or performance.

Instead the contrary occurs, which is the clearest difference between coffee consumption and suffering from an addiction. Alcoholics, for example, experience the desired effects from alcohol with every extra drop.

The so-called coffee addiction is no more than a habit, according to the nutrition expert. Despite this reality, many people suffer from withdrawal headaches if they don't get the required amount of coffee in a day. Coffee gives a short-term boost to the body's blood pressure and when this boost fails to arrive then this can affect the head.

If a person wants to give up coffee due to a sensitive stomach, for instance, then he or she will have to wait some time until feeling fully normal again. 'I have to live with the withdrawal headaches, which can last a couple of days,' explains Nusbaum, who doesn't want to give up drinking coffee entirely.

'It's an effective way for people with low blood pressure to get up and running in the day,' she says.

A cup first thing in the morning can give a boost that lasts the whole day although the effects only last between 10 and 30 minutes for people with normal blood pressure.

'The general rule is that coffee works quickly, for a short length of time and the effects wear off,' concludes Nusbaum. 
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