Do you reach for a cup of coffee or tea in the morning to help wake you up and get you going? You are not alone! Millions of people consume caffeine every day to increase wakefulness, decrease fatigue, and improve concentration and focus. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. This means that it causes increased heart, blood pressure, and alertness. While caffeine has its perks, it can also pose some health risks. Before you pour your morning cup, consider the effects that caffeine has on your body. It is important to consume caffeine in moderation, and identify when it might be time to cut back.
Caffeine is found in most coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and some types of chocolate. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is safe to consume up to 400 mg of caffeine a day: that is about four cups of coffee. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, so be sure to listen to your body. If you experience migraines, insomnia, anxiety, increased heart rate, and muscle tremors after you consume caffeine, this may be a signal that you have had too much caffeine.
Here’s a breakdown of caffeine levels in an 8 oz cup of some common drinks:
- Energy Drinks: 127 – 164 mg
- Coffee: 95 – 165 mg
- Black Tea: 25 – 48 mg
- Cola: 24 – 46 mg
The key to caffeine consumption is moderation. Try limiting it to just the one cup in the morning, and avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon so as not to affect your sleep schedule. Caffeine has addictive properties, so if you regularly have caffeine, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms if you go without it. If you’re looking to cut back on caffeine, check out our tips below!
Tips for Curbing your Caffeine Habit
- Track your intake. Start by paying attention to how much caffeine you’re actually drinking in a day by tracking your tea, coffee, soda, or energy drinks. You may be surprised how these add up!
- Cut back gradually. You don’t have to go cold turkey! Start by drinking one fewer cans of soda or a smaller cup of coffee each day.
- Switch to decaf. If you’re a tea drinker, herbal tea has lower levels of caffeine than black tea.
- Need a pick me up? Instead of going for caffeine, try a brisk walk outside, a cold glass of water, or a healthy snack like fresh fruit.
Sources: Mayoclinic. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.