Caffiene Un-coded

Recent buzz about the health impact of consuming energy drinks have spread a cautious halo around consuming too much caffeine.

What is Caffeine

Caffeine, known as a methyxanthine, effects the body based on age, body weight, strength of brew, even growing conditions, and processing procedures.  There are over 60 plants that contain caffeine! Let’s take a look at some of the common sources, coffee and tea. Lighter-roasted coffees are generally higher in caffeine than dark-roasted, due to the longer roasting period. Tea is actually higher in caffeine than coffee, but is brewed much weaker.

The prevalence of caffeine in agriculture, as well as prevalence in society, has helped bring caffeine to the forefront as one of the most widely used stimulants in the world. For example, a morning cup of tea or coffee, the soda you grab at lunch, maybe even the energy drink during a long week. Did you know that there are other sources like some chocolate syrups, diet pills, even some over the counter medications?

Health Impact of Caffeine

There are mixed research on whether intake is harmful or beneficial. Caffeine will rev up your central nervous system and can potentially constrict your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. There isn’t a strong scientific link between cardiovascular disease and caffeine intake, but people with chronic diseases such as arrhythmias and hypertension should always discuss caffeine intake with their physician. Thus far, moderate consumption or less than approximately 300mg per day, is considered generally safe. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can include, but aren’t limited to headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating,

Caffeine has the potential of disrupting your sleep cycle, leaving you more fatigued and guzzling more the next day. The liver is the organ that processes the caffeine, over the course of a fairly short half-life. Half life indicates how long it takes for a substance to break down or be cleared from the body. After approximately five to seven hours, most of the caffeine will be cleared from the body, so having your cup of joe in the morning rather than the afternoon can help you keep your sleep cycle on target.

By Anna Dean, MS, RD, LD

References:

Natural Standard Database

http://www.webmd.com/balance/caffeine-myths-and-facts

Picture courtesy of www.loveandzest.com via www.healthyaperture.com

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