A demanding day of work, class and other responsibilities may have you running to the nearest coffee shop or supermarket for an energy boost. Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea and energy drinks can help you get through your day; but how do you distinguish between these caffeinated sources being merely a boost for the day or a necessity? How do you know when you’ve had too much caffeine? The following is a guide to caffeine consumption, its “addictive” effects and how you can monitor your intake!
Caffeine: What is it?
Caffeine is what is in that cup of joe that gives you the energy to tackle your day! It is a stimulant drug that comes from plants (News Medical describes the drug as being a natural pesticide that paralyzes bugs that feed on that particular plant!). WebMD explains that caffeine stimulates “your central nervous system (CNS), heart, muscles and centers that control blood pressure.” This is what wakes you up, creating the feeling of increased alertness.
Caffeine can be found in drinks such as coffee, tea, sodas and energy drinks. It can also be found in tablet form with each tablet normally containing 200mg of Caffeine, but this can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Addiction: Boost or Necessity?
Caffeine, while providing that boost you need to take on the world, can cause you to become dependent on it. While it affects people in different ways, caffeine should be consumed in moderation. Mayo Clinic explains that for “most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 milligrams (mg), or about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day — aren’t harmful.”
Dependence on caffeine can occur with frequent and/or increased consumption. The more often you consume caffeine, and the larger the dose, the less you will feel its effects on your body overtime. A sign of dependence on the drug is withdrawal when you try to consume less caffeine during your day.
WebMD provides the following list of symptoms of withdrawal from caffeine, which may help indicate if you’ve become dependent on the drug:
- depressed mood difficulty concentrating
Monitoring Intake: Tips and Tricks
Being in control of your caffeine intake can help prevent and alleviate dependence. Monitor your intake by:
Making a tally chart of how many caffeinated beverages you’ve had for the day. Make sure to write down how much caffeine is in each beverage, if not all the same.
Incorporating decaf into your daily routine. You may find that you might just be craving the taste of coffee or tea and that a decaf beverage may just do the trick!
Drink beverages with lower caffeine content than you’re used to. If you are already consuming an excess of caffeine for your body, drinking tea instead of coffee or having one less shot of expresso can slowly get you back to caffeine consumption back to normal!
Improve other aspects of your health! Getting enough sleep and exercising normally can keep you from becoming dependent on that cup of java. Sleep is important for your body’s recovery from the draining tasks of your day and will decrease your need for caffeine. Exercising jump-starts your metabolism, waking you up naturally!
While a latte or two is completely in order with a busy schedule, being aware of your caffeine consumption is extremely important for your health and efficiency in your work. The above is just an overview of caffeine and its effects. If you have any more facts, tips, or tricks, please share them in the comments below!