Caffeine is a mild stimulant. It also tends to increase the flow of urine — that is, it is a diuretic. Caffeine comes from the leaves, seeds, and fruits of many plants such as tea leaves, kola nuts, coffee beans, and cocoa beans.
Caffeine can be found in coffee, cocoa, tea, chocolate products, and some soft drinks. It is often added to many over-the-counter medicines such as pain relievers and cold medicines.
How does caffeine affect the body?
Caffeine quickly passes into the central nervous system and eventually passes out of the body in the urine. Normally, half of the amount of caffeine consumed leaves the body within 5 to 7 hours.
The effects of caffeine range from a mild increase in alertness to anxiety, tension, and irritability. There is no proof that caffeine improves creativity or work performance or that it increases energy levels. In fact, many researchers believe that too much caffeine interferes with work performance.
What is caffeine sensitivity?
Some people have unwanted, or negative, side effects when they have a certain amount of caffeine. This is called “caffeine sensitivity.” Negative side effects include increased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, anxiety, depression, tremors, and disturbed sleeping patterns.
Is caffeine safe in small amounts?
Modest amounts of caffeine have not been associated with any health risks. You can safely consume about 250 mg of caffeine each day. This is equal to three 8-ounce cups of coffee, two 8-ounce chocolate bars, or about 5 cups of tea.
Who should avoid caffeine?
Infants and children
Infants should not be given drinks that contain caffeine. Children may be more likely to have caffeine sensitivity because of their smaller body size. Limit the amount of caffeine in your child’s diet. If your child has too many caffeinated drinks, he or she may be missing out on other more nutritional drinks, like milk or juice.
Pregnant women and nursing mothers
Most doctors either recommend that pregnant women not use caffeine or limit its usage. Nursing mothers also should not have too much caffeine. It could interfere with the baby’s sleep since it crosses into the mother’s milk.
People with heart problems
Caffeine can cause irregular heartbeats in some people. Therefore, many doctors recommend eliminating or restricting caffeine for patients with heart problems, high blood pressure, or a history of irregular heartbeats.
Cut Back Slowly on Caffeine
People who consume large amounts of caffeine on a regular basis may get mild headaches and feel tired if they stop having caffeine all at once. If you want to cut down on the caffeine in your diet, try cutting back slowly to reduce the side effects.
Have a glass of water in between each cup of coffee or soda. Mix a half of a cup of decaf with a half of a cup of regular coffee. Gradually increase the amount of decaf and decrease the regular until you are only drinking decaf.
Many people think they need caffeine to wake up in the morning. If you get a good night’s sleep, you’ll feel rested when you get up, and you’ll be able to skip the caffeine.
|Drip Method (5-ounce cup)
|Percolated (5-ounce cup)
|Instant (5-ounce cup)
|Starbucks Vanilla Latte (Grande - 16 oz.)
|Starbucks Frappuccino Blended Coffee (9.5 oz.)
|Espresso (generic 1 oz.)
|Starbucks Espresso (Decaffeinated 1 oz.)
|1 minute brew (5-ounce cup)
|2 minute brew (5-ounce cup)
|Instant (5-ounce cup)
|Tazo Chai Tea Latte (Grande-16 oz.)
|Snapple, Lemon (Regular/Diet—16 oz.)
|Arizona Iced Tea, Black (16 oz.)
|Nestea (12 oz.)
|Snapple, Unsweetened (16 oz.)
|Arizona Iced Tea, Green (16 oz.)
|6-ounce cup of hot cocoa
|8-ounce cup of chocolate milk
|1-ounce of milk chocolate
|Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Bar (1.45 oz.)
|Hershey's Chocolate Bar (1.55 oz.)
|Hershey's Kisses (9 kisses)
|Monster Energy (16 oz.)
|SoBe No Fear (8 oz.)
|Red Bull (Regular/Sugar Free - 8.3 oz.)
|Rockstar Energy Drink (8 oz.)
|Amp (8.4 oz.)
|5 Hour Energy (1.93 oz.)
Soft Drinks (12 Ounce)
|Coca Cola/Diet Coke
|Midol (for cramps)
|NoDoz (Maximum Strength - 1 tablet)