February 11, 2005
Caffeine is a natural chemical found in tea leaves, coffee beans, cacao (the stuff used to make chocolate), and cola nuts (the plant that gives cola soda its flavor). Caffeine has been in foods that humans eat and drink for hundreds of years. Today, caffeine is found in many common foods and drinks, such as coffee, tea, hot cocoa, soda, chocolate, and some medicines.
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE?
Caffeine is a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. It is not addictive, though it can be habit forming. When caffeine intake is stopped abruptly, some individuals can experience headache, fatigue or drowsiness. Age and body size can make a difference in effect. A child or a smaller person may feel caffeine's effects more strongly than an adult or a heavier, taller person. A cup of strongly brewed coffee or tea has more caffeine than a weakly brewed cup.
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS "SAFE?"
MODERATION is the key. Most experts agree that 300 mg. of caffeine (about the amount contained in 3 cups of coffee) is a moderate intake. People who have certain health problems need to check with their doctor as they consider their caffeine intake. At this time, there is NO evidence that caffeine intake is associated with heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis or high cholesterol. Because research is ongoing, recommendations about caffeine in the presence of these conditions seems conflicting. Talk with your doctor for guidance about your consumption. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine's effects than others and may feel effects at smaller doses. Pregnancy and aging may affect one's sensitivity to caffeine. There is no evidence that caffeine in beverage form is dehydrating. Its diuretic effects are usually compensated for by the beverage's fluid content. If you ingest caffeine from sports supplements (Clif Bar Ice series) or from prescription drugs or over-the-counter sources (No-Doz, etc.) be sure to drink adequate fluid to rehydrate yourself from caffeine's mild diuretic action.
Amount of Drink/Food
Amount of Caffeine
Brewed coffee (drip method)
Chocolate milk beverage
Cold relief medication
*This is an average amount of caffeine. That means some of these products may contain a little more caffeine; some may contain a little less.
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Soft Drink Association
HOW CAN I ENERGIZE?
Instead of reaching for another Coke(c), try these non-caffeinated strategies to maintain good energy levels:
· Get a good night's sleep. If you are tired during the day, take a short nap.
· Take a brisk, 10-minute walk.
· Eat regular, healthful meals. Use the food guide pyramid to build your meals. Fatty foods and alcohol can make you feel "draggy."
· Try not to skip or delay meals. Avoid eating very large meals - digesting a large meal can make you want a nap.
Posted by Lisa at February 11, 2005 9:46 AM
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