Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Understanding Your Caffeine Boost – Is It Just Coffee?

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From sleepyhead to being alert, caffeine is known to excite, 'transform' and awaken the central nervous system.  Some are more sensitive than others to the effects of caffeine.  You may need only one cup to feel it’s effects whilst others two or three.  So what’s the cut off?

It is generally accepted that up to 3 cups of coffee per day are perfectly okay.  The results of epidemiological research even suggest that coffee consumption may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinsons disease and liver disease.

Moderate consumption of coffee of about 3-4 cups per day usually equates to 300-400mg of caffeine per day.  For pregnant women and mums-to-be, you are aiming for less than 300mg of caffeine per day.  The rationale behind this the need to eliminate any risks of spontaneous abortion or impaired growth of your baby.

Other Sources Of Caffeine
A good strong brew of coffee provides anywhere between 80-180mg of caffeine so for some of you, 2 cups for the day is plenty.

To avoid buzzing around the office like nobody’s business, consider the sizes of your takeaway coffees.  Are these small or grand?  Do you need the caffeine hit or do you just need more sleep?

Black tea provides between 43-60mg of caffeine per cup (250ml), whilst green or white teas will contribute 25-45mg per cup.

Herbal teas are usually caffeine free whilst a 250ml serving of energy drink can give you anywhere between 80-125mg.  A small bar of dark chocolate is another 30mg of caffeine.  If you are fond of chocolate covered coffee beans, bad news; there’s at least 350mg in a ¼ cup!  Madness, right?

The message of the day is know your limits.  If you love large mugfuls of coffee, do you need to stop at 2?  After all, high intake of caffeine has been associated with risk of hypertension but this risk was lowered when caffeine was consumed in the form of coffee, rather than tablets.  There may be other protective factors in coffee itself, but today, it’s still open to debate whether coffee intake may or may not be associated with hypertension and other cardiovascular risk factors.

Either way, I like to err on the side of caution and stick to no more than 400mg of caffeine per day.  Now you too can calculate your total daily caffeine intake.  If in doubt, read the labels!

 What do you think lovely readers?