For many, the most important part of their morning routine is that daily cup of caffeine, whether it comes from caffeine drinks such as coffee or certain types of tea. From foods with caffeine to drinks, caffeine products are sure to energize and awaken you for the day ahead.
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Caffeine is a stimulant that is safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts.
Choose Healthier Caffeine Products
Caffeine is the world's most frequently consumed stimulant drug, says a January 2015 study published in Current Neuropharmacology. Caffeine occurs naturally in beverages and foods such as coffee, tea and chocolate. Dark chocolate and green tea are some examples of healthy natural sources of caffeine.
Harvard Health Publishing explains that a group of plant chemicals known as flavonoids can help quell inflammation, which in turn may potentially reduce plaque buildup inside arteries, lessening the risk of cardiovascular disease. Green tea has slightly higher amounts of flavonoids than black tea.
There are, however, more natural ways to boost energy even without caffeine. According to Harvard Health Publishing, some of these natural energy boosters include eating foods for energy along with regular exercise and practices that manage stress levels such as yoga, meditation and tai chi. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends forgoing caffeine-laced drinks such as coffee or cola that may lead to trouble sleeping in favor of iced tea with mint sprigs and/or lemon or cucumber slices while navigating a long trip.
Energizing Effects of Caffeine
According to January 2015 research published in Advances in Nutrition, caffeine is typically used to increase concentration and alertness, thanks to its effects on the central nervous system. Caffeine can also be used in medications to treat headaches, asthma and relieve pain.
This study focused on caffeine consumption from food and beverages in children and adolescents. The study concluded that an increased trend in caffeine containing energy drinks (CCEDs) along with soda, coffee and tea, among adolescents and youth led to an uptake in overall caffeine intake.
While moderate caffeine is generally safe for most healthy adults, consuming too much caffeine may have adverse side effects. Because caffeinated beverages such as colas, coffees and teas pull water from the body as a diuretic, these beverages may contain excessive caffeine that can possibly lead to dehydration, explains the Cleveland Clinic.
A May 2017 study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry stated that caffeine consumption could be harmful for some populations potentially vulnerable to the negative effects of caffeine consumption, including women that are pregnant and lactating, children, adolescents, young adults and those with underlying heart or other health conditions, such as mental illness.
Excessive caffeine could lead to impairments in cardiovascular function, sleep, shifts in blood pressure and/or numbness. This study determined that the parameters of caffeine toxicity appeared to be around 400 milligrams each day for healthy adults 19 years or older, 100 milligrams each day in healthy adolescents 12 to 18 years old and 2.5 milligrams or less for healthy children less than 12 years old.
Read more: How Much Caffeine is in Green Tea Extract?
Mind Your Amount of Caffeine
Consider just how much caffeine is actually in that morning cup of joe (or tea). The Mayo Clinic recommends examining just how much caffeine you have on a daily basis, especially for those experiencing any negative symptoms such as headaches, restlessness or anxiety. Consider cutting back if your caffeine habit totals more than 400 milligrams a day, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Their general guidelines state that a standard 8-ounce brewed coffee contains 95 to 165 milligrams of caffeine. Conversely, an 8-ounce brewed black tea tends to contain around 48 milligrams of caffeine. The Mayo Clinic also states that 8 ounces of green tea has about half the amount — about 25 milligrams — of caffeine as what is found in black tea.
Other unexpected sources of caffeine products are decaffeinated coffees and teas, which have minimal amounts of caffeine, along with some soft drinks or sodas and many energy drinks or shakes. Foods with caffeine include chocolate, as well as protein or energy bars, cereals, ice cream, yogurt, pudding and hot chocolate, which contain chocolate in trace amounts. Some medications such as headache and menstrual relief pills may also contain caffeine.
- Current Neuropharmacology: "Caffeine: Cognitive and Physical Performance Enhancer or Psychoactive Drug?"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Caffeine Intake from Food and Beverage Sources and Trends among Children and Adolescents in the United States: Review of National Quantitative Studies from 1999 to 2011"
- Mayo Clinic: "Caffeine Content for Coffee, Tea, Soda and More"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Flavonoids: The Secret to Health Benefits of Drinking Black and Green Tea?"
- Frontiers in Psychiatry: "The Safety of Ingested Caffeine: A Comprehensive Review"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "9 Tips to Boost Your Energy — Naturally"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Smart Snacks for Your Trip"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Dehydration"