What is caffeine and how does it work?
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can be found in coffee, cacao, and tea among others.
After consuming a dose of caffeine it is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract within a short period of time. It makes its way to the liver where the caffeine is broken down into compounds, which then helps to stimulate our other organs.
However, its main function takes place in the brain. It works by blocking the function of a neurotransmitter called Adenosine which basically signals your brain that it needs to relax. This neurotransmitter stimulates our sleep so that our body can preserve its energy.
What caffeine does is that it blocks the effects of adenosine. This results in low chances of you being tired and weary. On top of that, caffeine can increase blood adrenaline levels that enhance brain activity keeping you alert and awake. The union of these two activities helps you stay focused and awakened.
What food contains caffeine?
Caffeine is a natural substance found in nuts, seeds, and leaves of different plant types.
Hot chocolate - 0.6 mg caffeine per fluid ounce
Black tea - 26 mg caffeine per eight fluid ounces
Green tea - 28 mg caffeine per eight fluid ounces
Espresso - 63.6 mg caffeine per fluid ounce
Filtered coffee - 145 mg caffeine per regular cup (240ml)
Dark chocolate - 336 mg caffeine per ounce
Source: My Food Data
The caffeine content in beverages and food items can vary and it’s best to be aware of them, especially if you are very sensitive to caffeine.
Health benefits of caffeine
- It helps to suppress your appetite temporarily. So, if you want to control your food intake, it might help.
- Caffeine improves alertness and attentiveness.
- Caffeine can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease and lower your potential risk of developing it in the future.
(Parkinson’s disease is a disorder our brain can develop that affects our balance, coordination, walking, stiffness, and shaking. At first, it wouldn’t cause much harm to us, but gradually it develops and worsens our condition as we are unable to talk and walk properly)
- As it improves your brain function, it boosts your memory and thinking ability it helps ward off any potential risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Caffeine can detoxify your liver and reduce the fat content that accumulates in your liver which causes a condition called fatty liver.
Source: Medical News Today
Side effects of caffeine
Involuntary muscle movements (tremors)
High blood pressure
If you consume caffeine excessively for prolonged periods of time, it can lead to caffeine addiction. This can be detrimental to your health, social life and other aspects of your life.
Symptoms of caffeine addiction
Trouble falling asleep
Nervousness / anxiety
Increased blood pressure levels
Unable to concentrate
Source: Cleveland Clinic
Tips for overcoming caffeine addiction
- Be prepared - Suddenly cutting off your caffeine intake will most likely result in withdrawal symptoms (can be the ones mentioned above) and their severity can vary from person to person. So, it’s best to be well-equipped both mentally and physically to positively deal with these withdrawal symptoms.
- Take things slow - Recovery takes time and it’s okay. If you are struggling with a caffeine addiction, professionals recommend that the best way forward is to cut down your caffeine intake gradually.
- More hydration - One of the keys to overcoming a caffeine addiction is to increase your fluid intake in order to flush out all the caffeine from your system.
Source: Cleveland Clinic
** If you’re struggling with caffeine addiction or any form of addiction, it’s best to get professional help.
Resources to help with caffeine addiction:
Professional advice about caffeine addiction: https://cle.clinic/2Qi9wSU
Caffeine detox: https://bit.ly/3c5PpQz
Safe caffeine usage: https://bit.ly/2Paapwu
How to consume caffeine safely & recommended dosage
According to research, the recommended daily dosage of caffeine is around 300-400mg for healthy adults. This is roughly the amount of 4 cups of coffee. On the other hand, caffeine is not recommended for children. Additionally, pregnant mothers, women who are trying to become pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should consume caffeine under the advice of medical professionals.
Caffeine is not as harmful as people claim it to be. In fact, a cup or two of coffee and tea can actually promote a good, healthy lifestyle because, despite the caffeine content, these beverages carry a plethora of health benefits. If you want to go down the caffeine-free route, Tipson has a range of caffeine-free teas for you! Check them out at https://tipsontea.com