Why is Tea and Coffee Addictive

Why is Tea and Coffee Addictive

Humans, especially Indians and tea have an unbreakable bond. Its just not a regular drink but an ritual to start the day with it- the very famous habit-‘BED TEA’ among older adults & elderly.

Another drink which is favourite among the millennials and Gen Z is COFFEE. Coffee dates, coffee meets, coffee hangouts is the new culture through which new generation likes to gel up. Both tea and coffee have CAFFEINE in common which is the main reason for this addiction.

How does Caffeine work:

Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, heart and muscles by acting upon Adenosine. Adenosine makes you feel drowsy. Now the caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors and speeds up nerve activity.

Caffeine 1
Photo credit: Science holic

The recommended intake of caffeine per day is upto 400mg . That comes up to roughly 2-3 cups of tea or coffee. Keep in mind that the caffeine content varies depending upon its origin, processing and method of preparation like brewing.

Caffeine 1
Photo Credit: Recovery direct


Tea and coffee when consumed more than 2-3 cups a day. It can lead to:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Headache
  • Muscle tremors
  • Frequent urination
  • Osteoporosis – Thinning of bones. Caffeine leaches out calcium from the bones making them weak and prone to breakage and fractures. So elderly and Vitamin D deficient individuals should limit the intake to 1-2 cups in a day.
  • People with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should limit tea and coffee intake to once a day because caffeine is a Diuretic, worsens diarrhoea and aggravates IBS symptoms.
  • When the intake crosses more than 6 cups a day leads to caffeinism i.e. so much dependent on it that stopping its consumption may lead to withdrawal symptoms like severe headaches, anxiety and trembling.


New studies have shown that when tea/coffee consumed within permissible limits it has certain benefits too. Like,

  • Improved concentration
  • Improved short term memory
  • Reduces fatigue- so an good option as a pre workout meal.


So rather than categorising caffeine as good or bad, focus on drinking it within permissible limits and at right time is the key!


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1) Marshall Brain, Charles W. Bryant & Matt Cunningham “How Caffeine Works” 1 April 2000. 2) Caffeine. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Nov. 26, 2016. 3) Duyff RL. Fluids. In: American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012.

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