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Steep thoughts: Caffeine

Caffeine: Lessons in moderation and discipline

A question I am often asked is, “so, what’s the deal with caffeine? Is it really safe? Is it dangerous? “ . Many people do not know what to make of caffeine. Is it a drug? Is it addicting? Is it a cure all and make you live longer? How many food items do we come across that shares such a diverse range of reactions? Consumption of caffeine remains a widely debated topic, yet still drunk daily! Here is what we know:

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Caffeine is defined as “An alkaloid compound which is found especially in tea and coffee plants and is a stimulant of the central nervous system.” Benefits ascribed to caffeine consumption include increased attention and alertness; decrease fatigue. Also some studies attribute caffeine consumption with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, lower risk of diabetes, and increased metabolic rate. Doesn’t that sound amazing? So why are people concerned about caffeine consumption? This is due to some of the negative effects caffeine can bring on, such as anxiety & dizziness, increased heart rate, and insomnia.

Now what? Here are some basic guidelines: Toxic doses would be about 10 grams for an adult. With an average cup of coffee containing 80-175 mg, that would be about 50-100 cups. With an average cup of tea containing 20-70 mg, it would be more than 140-500 cups! Do not do that. I repeat, don’t even think of it.

What is recommended tea drinking? Most studies say between 4-6 cups of tea a day is safe and healthy. What is most important is to listen to your body. If you drink something with caffeine, or anything for that matter, and your body is not appreciating, then back off. There are people that may have sensitivities to caffeine. Be aware. Drink responsibly.

***In matters of your personal health, consult a medical professional.

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