Caffeine – Advantages and Disadvantages Caffeine is a widely used ingredient that is mostly found in tea, cola-based drinks, chocolate and coffee. Research on caffeine has revealed that it contains antioxidants known as “Flavonoids”. Antioxidants play a vital role in in numerous bodily functions also slow down the natural aging process. Antioxidants also combat the harmful effects of free radicals in your body. Free radicals damage your vital organs, tissues and are considered as one of the major causes of cancer. Moreover, flavonoids protect against numerous cardiovascular problems including heart strokes and coronary artery disease. However, numerous disadvantages of consuming caffeine can outweigh the mentioned benefits. First of all, it is mildly addictive and prevents your body from absorbing important nutrients such as minerals and vitamins. Caffeine is also responsible for palpitation and sleeping disorders, especially insomnia. Caffeine increases your blood pressure, over-stimulates your central nervous system and is a diuretic, a substance which increases the excretion of important nutrients from your body. Caffeine can irritate your gastrointestinal tract especially the stomach and cause headaches and nausea. It also increases the risk of osteoporosis in women because it tends to decrease the bone mineral density. Therefore, it becomes very important that you provide your body with flavonoids from food sources other than caffeine. Dietary sources that contain plenty of flavonoids include green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits and green tea. Vitamin C and vitamin E are also strong antioxidants and you should consume citrus and dry fruits to meet the daily recommended allowance of these nutrients. It is very important to consume antioxidants-rich diets, especially flavonoids, (or bioflavoniods, collectively known as citrin or Vitamin P) on a regular basis to maintain the health of your immune and cardiovascular systems. Antioxidants promote healthy muscle function and hormonal secretion. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of nails, hair and skin. Moreover, they also protect your body against the risk of cancer especially lung cancer, prostrate cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer. Lycopene is a naturally occurring antioxidant that gives vegetables and fruits a red colour. It is present in high amounts in strawberries, tomatoes and tomato products. It helps maintain the health of immune system and destroys free radicals in your body, which cause premature aging, cardiovascular problems and different types of cancer. Anthocyanin is another antioxidant that is found in blueberries, black currants, black raspberries and red grapes. Delicious and rich in anthocyanin, blueberries rank number one in antioxidant activity when compared with 25 other fresh vegetables and fruits.