Sometimes they say caffeine is good and sometimes it’s bad, but since many of us feel like we can’t live without a cup of coffee or tea, BBC GoodFood asked nutritionist Jo Lewin to review the recommendations and effects of this psychoactive drug. .
Introduction to caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that belongs to the alkaloid family.
In addition to the most popular sources – coffee and tea – it is found in cocoa, energy drinks and some medicines.
Caffeine content varies widely depending on the type and size of the drink or food, and the manner in which it is prepared.
pros and cons
Typically, low doses of caffeine can make you feel more alert and energetic.
However, higher doses can cause anxiety, irritability, and an inability to relax or sleep.
In the long term, consuming too much caffeine weakens the adrenal glands, depletes several vital nutrients, and interferes with hormonal balance.
In addition, a cycle is created in which higher amounts are needed to achieve the usual effect, and stopping this popular drug can cause symptoms such as headaches and indigestion.
In short, caffeine is addictive.
However, scientific evidence indicates that a moderate amount of tea or coffee is not harmful to health.
how much is too much
Before you head out happily to buy an extra-large latte, keep in mind that experts agree that if you drink more than three cups of tea, coffee, or caffeinated beverages daily, it’s best to cut back.
Too much caffeine can contribute to insomnia, nervousness, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, and can cause palpitations.
Pregnant women and those with blood pressure problems should consult a doctor.
Also, don’t forget to take into account the sugar, artificial sweeteners or cream that are often added to caffeinated beverages, which sometimes go unnoticed when reviewing diets.
The truth is that because metabolism is genetically determined, not everyone responds to caffeine in the same way. That’s why some people drink a cup of coffee in the morning and can’t sleep at night, while others can have a Espresso double after dinner and sleep like babies.
With that in mind, the recommendations are…
- Moderate caffeine consumption to a dosage level of up to 400 milligrams per day (for a person weighing 150 pounds)
- Pregnant women should not consume more than 200 milligrams a day (for a person weighing 65 kilos)
- Children should not consume more than 2.5 milligrams a day
Be careful with hydration and minerals
Although coffee and tea can add to your recommended daily fluid intake, keep in mind that caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic, so drink more water.
As it can cause mild dehydration, watch out for symptoms, which include muscle aches, headaches, lower back pain, and constipation.
Thirst is an obvious sign of dehydration, as is the yellow color or strong odor in the urine.
Similarly, while tea and coffee contain some antioxidants, caffeine has been identified as a potential risk factor for bone fractures by causing calcium loss.
How to consume less
Reduce consumption gradually, over a period of two to three weeks. If you do it too fast it can give you a headache.
- Try diluting smaller amounts of coffee or tea
- If you’re buying it, order the small size
- Try decaf coffee and tea
- Brew a cup instead of a pitcher
- buy a smaller cup
- Drink more water and fruit and vegetable juices
- Experiment with herbal tea
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