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Published on June 9, 2021

Is Caffeine Bad For You (And How Much Caffeine Is Too Much)?

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Is Caffeine Bad For You (And How Much Caffeine Is Too Much)?

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, and other items and products. When taken, it stimulates the brain and nervous system, helping you stay active. People take caffeine for various reasons. Most people love to take it because of its natural and unique flavor and taste. Students and shift workers take it to remain active during study or work.

While moderate consumption is good, too much may be harmful. So, how is caffeine bad for you? How much is too much, and what are the side effects of taking coffee?

What Exactly Is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a drug, but it exists in the natural form in coffee beans, tea leaves, and other things. People drink it to keep them active, enjoy the taste and flavor, and avoid tiredness. At least 80% of the population of the world consumes caffeine each day from different sources.[1] That’s why products with caffeine have a massive global market with plenty of demand.

Caffeine leaves the stomach for the small intestines and into the bloodstream. Its effect in the body begins only 15 minutes after taking it. It also blocks adenosine, a brain chemical that induces sleep. The impact of the blockage restricts blood vessels.

Caffeine also triggers adrenaline that increases heart rate and blood pressure. This causes the body to go into an active and alert mode that keeps you energetic. The effects don’t last because, fortunately, it fades away after a few hours.

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Sources

Caffeine is not only associated with coffee and tea, but it’s also present in other items. For example, dark chocolate contains 86mg or 22% UL of caffeine per 100g. The cocoa powder contains 198 mg per cup. Sodas also have a considerable amount inside of them. In every 16oz bottle of soda, you will find at least 49mg or 12% UL caffeine.[2]

Energy drinks like red bull, monster, and rockstar are trendy around the world. They also contain a massive amount of caffeine consumers should take note of. Every 8oz of most energy drink brands contains nothing less than 91mg or 23% UL.

How Much Caffeine Is Right for You?

How much caffeine is too much? Well, it depends. According to the U.S Food and Drugs Administration, 400 milligrams a day is okay for adults.[3] That’s about four to five cups of coffee within 24 hours. Anything above this number is dangerous and hazardous for you. But then, people respond to caffeine based on their body system. That’s why everyone needs to study their bodies to know the correct number for them.

Health Benefits of Caffeine

When taken in moderation, caffeine has plenty of health benefits. It can help boost physical performance and promote better productivity. By reducing the desire for food consumption, caffeine also provides support for losing weight. There is the aspect of thermogenesis where the body produces more heat to digest food and burn fat. Most products with thermogenesis in the label contain caffeine.

People who are into sports will also benefit from drinking caffeine. It contains polyphenol antioxidants. This compound opens neural pathways in the brain to improve innovative thinking. The liver and colon find caffeine helpful when it increases glutathione. More glutathione also increases detoxification of the liver and promotes better health.

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Caffeine may also protect people from eye conditions like blepharospasm and cataracts. There are suggestions that it may help protect against skin, mouth, and throat cancers. Caffeine is good for your skin because it contains collagen-boosting Caffeic acid. Caffeic acid also has antimicrobial properties that help to fight germs and diseases.

Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine

Is caffeine bad for you? How much should you take? What are the side effects of taking excess? Irresponsible consumption will lead to side effects. Some people have fallen sick while others have developed severe medical problems. One of the biggest concerns with caffeine is the increase in blood pressure.

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, taking too much of it can put you at risk. Too much caffeine can also interfere with some hormones that keep arteries widened.[4] The blood pressure will take effect and last for three hours. After that, it begins to subside, and you’ll get yourself back. If you notice your blood pressure increasing while drinking coffee, reduce your intake or stop it. You may also see the doctor for clarification to understand how coffee affects you.

Some people also experience stomach irritation and discomfort after taking food with caffeine. That’s because caffeine stimulates the gastrointestinal tract in some people. Too much of it can cause nausea, diarrhea, and significant stomach cramping. People who experience stomach issues after taking caffeine need to stop. If they take small quantities and feel fine, they may stick to that.

There is also the problem of coffee or caffeine leading to weight gain. Caffeine helps you lose weight by boosting your metabolism. But too much of it can cause weight gain when it affects sleep. People who can’t sleep will watch TV and binge eat. They also have less energy for exercise, and all that contributes to weight gain. Drinking coffee at bars may also lead to weight gain. That’s because many of these bars prepare coffee with sugars and added calories. When taking too much, the result may be weight gain.

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Caffeine acts as an enzyme that stimulates heart intensity and contraction, but too much consumption can also affect the heart by increasing blood pressure. Consuming plenty of it from energy drinks may lead to a faster heartbeat. This causes atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. If not treated on time, the problem can lead to serious heart issues that may be fatal.

Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. Apart from high blood pressure, it can also increase stroke. Young people should be careful when taking energy drinks. The caffeine inside is lethal, so you need to consume it in moderation and with care.

Caffeine Addiction

Caffeine has a limited effect on dopamine, the chemical that causes addiction to substances. But still, people have found themselves drinking more coffee daily than they should. Many of them can’t stop or reduce the habit, so they can be said to be addicted to caffeine or coffee. When caffeine becomes an addiction, the individual acquires physical dependence.

How to Know if You’re Addicted

You can detect addiction through withdrawal symptoms. Most people experience certain discomforts 12 to 24 hours after taking caffeine. One of the symptoms of caffeine addiction is headaches. Taking caffeine narrows the blood vessels. When you stop taking it, blood starts rushing again into your system. This can lead to severe headaches.

Caffeine boosts your energy and makes you come alive. When you stop taking it, your body will notice it and crave it. If your body can’t find additional supplies for hours, it becomes tired. Extreme fatigue after a long time of not taking caffeine is a symptom of addiction. Some people also feel heightened anxiety when they stop taking it for a long time. Depressed mood, irritability, and tremors are also related to withdrawal.

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How to Overcome Addiction

You can overcome caffeine addiction by taking responsibility. People who’re exposed to health issues need to take this more seriously and make changes fast. Don’t stop caffeine at once. Start by reducing the amount you consume. Reduce consumption by one cup every week and see how you progress.[5] If you take coffee from a particular bar in the morning, find an alternative route to work. Limit the temptation by avoiding your favorite coffee shop.

If you prepare coffee at home, once the last supply is finished, don’t buy more. Some people break their addiction by opting for caffeine-free herbal tea. You get better by the day and improve your resistance against your addiction.

Tips for Safe Consumption

To live a healthy life, one must take responsibility. That includes taking the right amount of caffeine and avoiding addiction. You also need to take it so that it benefits your health and not the other way round.

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Avoid taking too much caffeine.
  • Pay attention to how many cups of coffee you should drink in a day and stick to it.
  • Avoid loading your coffee with sugar because it may lead to weight gain.
  • Caffeine taken after 2 pm will affect your sleep cycle.
  • If you’re a coffee-lover, try to add cinnamon once in a while for extra health benefits.
  • If you feel you’re taking too much, don’t be afraid to cut back.

Take charge of your caffeine habit and stay healthy.

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Summary

Caffeine is a drug that occurs naturally and offers both good and bad. Too much of it is bad for your body, heart, liver, and skin. You need to consider its side effects and benefits before it starts to affect you. If you’re addicted, learn to fight back and regain your health. Caffeine is good for you but only in moderation.

More About Caffeine

Featured photo credit: Jessica Lewis via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] ScienceDirect: Chapter 30 – Caffeine: An Evaluation of the Safety Database
[2] Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source
[3] U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much?
[4] MedlinePlus: Caffeine
[5] Johns Hopkins University: Caffeine use disorder: It’s real, and it warrants more attention

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Sara Leandro

Sara Leandro is a certified health coach who helps people make lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2021

20 Delightful Tea And Coffee Recipes You Should Try At Least Once

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20 Delightful Tea And Coffee Recipes You Should Try At Least Once

It’s likely that you drink a fair amount of tea or coffee every day. Even if you don’t drink them daily, you probably don’t stay away from occasionally sipping a cup of tea or coffee, as you fancy. Be it a cold winter day or a hot summer afternoon, these caffeine packed beverages are a popular choice. With the extra touch of additional ingredients for taste and health, your caffeine beverage now comes in a variety of creative recipes. Here, below, are 20 delightful tea and coffee recipes to jazz up your regular caffeine dosage and shake you free from your thirst.

1. Easy Chai Tea

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    Easy chai tea is a “throw-in-what-you’ve-got” tea that you can literally spice up with exotic spices to keep you warm through a cold winter. Although winter is almost over, you can’t go wrong trying out this simple recipe. It could even replace your morning and evening beverage—who knows?—since it’s so very simple to prepare. (Click here for the recipe)

    2. Hot and Spicy Himalayan Tea

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      A nice infusion of a whole lot of spices and Darjeeling tea, this hot and spicy Himalayan tea is what has been keeping the people high in the Himalayan mountains warm for ages. Get the taste of Himalaya in a cup with this recipe. (Click here for the recipe)

      3. Hot Cranberry Tea

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        “A cup of tea can solve anything.” When the cup of tea is as good as hot cranberry tea, you don’t worry about having to solve anything. The hot cranberry tea smells just as good as it tastes. You can get inventive making it with the spices that are readily available in your cupboard. (Click here for the recipe)

        4. Hibiscus Lemongrass Tea

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          Hibiscus is slowly gaining popularity in the beverage industry for the health benefits it brings, along with its authentic color and taste. Try hibiscus lemongrass for once instead of lemon in your tea and see. It is just as good iced as it is hot and is easy to prepare. (Click here for the recipe)

          5. Matcha Tea

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            Matcha tea comes with plenty of health benefits. You can prepare matcha tea at home in several ways. In the simplest version, all you have to do is measure the required amount of matcha tea powder and mix it with a small amount of boiling water. Then, you add additional water as necessary. (Click here for the recipe)

            6. Perfect Vanilla Tea

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              Vanilla comes second in the list of the most expensive spices in the world. Its elegant flavor explains why vanilla is loved so much in a wide variety of pastries and beverages. Perfect vanilla tea is a perfect blend of plain tea and exotic spices to create a perfect mug any time of day. (Click here for the recipe)

              7. Lemon Spiced Wellness Tea

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                Feel a bit under the weather? Tea. Even better: lemon spiced wellness tea. It contains no sugar but you can sweeten it as you like. This is your road to wellness. (Click here for the recipe)

                8. Chocolate Mint Cappuccino

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                  Most of us start our day with a big cup of coffee. Hot chocolate mint cappuccino coffee to start a cold winter day- nothing is more soul-warming than that. The invigorating flavor of mint and the richness of chocolate in this cappuccino will take your coffee experience up a notch. (Click here for the recipe)

                  9. Italian Cappuccino

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                    In Italian, cappuccino literally means “little cap”. The frothy, foamy little cap of milk and cream on top of the espresso base has won millions of hearts around the world, making coffee the most popular beverage. It’s best when you use fresh coffee to prepare this drink. This Italian cappuccino would be a nice start to the day during a cold winter or any time of year. (Click here for the recipe)

                    10. Caramel Macchiato

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                      Caramel always leaves its mark when used in any kind of food or beverage. This delicious cup of caramel macchiato is sure to leave you wishing for more. You can try it with different kinds of flavored syrups as substitutes to caramel. Try a cup of warm caramel macchiato with some cookies for a perfect snack. (Click here for the recipe)

                      11. Coffee Frappe

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                        You don’t always have to take your coffee hot; try a frappe. If you like blended coffee drinks, blend vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, coffee, milk, ice, and simple syrup in a blender until smooth; pour it in a tall glass; top it up with whipped cream and sprinkle the cocoa powder. Enjoy! You can prepare it in an instant. (Click here for the recipe)

                        12. Walnut Coffee Frappe

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                          Blend in some walnut with your coffee frappe and there you have your walnut coffee frappe! This delicious coffee shake will shake you up with its rich texture and taste. There isn’t any better way to enjoy the taste of walnut in a beverage. Treat your family to this delightful frappe to win them over. (Click here for the recipe)

                          13. Easy Peppermint Mocha

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                            If you love the peppermint flavor, you will love this even more: mocha and peppermint. They blend perfectly together. This simple peppermint mocha is easy to make with easily available ingredients and the taste will stimulate your taste buds. The crushed peppermint candy cane topping makes it delightfully minty. (Click here for the recipe)

                            14. Cinnamon Dolce Latte

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                              The simple cinnamon syrup is the secret to this wonderful coffee treat. After all, it’s a cinnamon dolce latte. The heartwarming taste of butter and brown sugar also mix together beautifully in this latte. You can leave out the butter and this drink still stands out for its delightful taste. Give it a try at home and save yourself a trip to Starbucks. (Click here for the recipe)

                              15. Skinny Caramel Frappuccino

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                                This Starbucks-style Frappuccino is cold, creamy rich and truly satisfying. You might be wondering why they call it “Skinny” Caramel Frappuccino. Every ingredient, including the sweetener in this beverage is sugar-free and fat-free to make sure that you stay “skinny” like you want, and there’s guaranteed satisfaction. The recipe claims to have only 50 calories per serving. (Click here for the recipe)

                                16. Chocolate Cherry Jubilee Frappe

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                                  There is no wrong time for a frappe, so here’s another frappe with creative flavors. Mix in a cherry flavor to your coffee frappe to add a new taste twist. This drink is chocolaty and the cherry flavor blends really well with it. I’m sure you will love this chocolate, coffee and cherry combo. (Click here for the recipe)

                                  17. Lemonade Sweet Tea

                                  17

                                    Lemon goes very well with any kind of tea, hot or iced. A tall glass of hot lemon tea early in the morning helps cleanse your digestive system, experts say. This tall glass of cold lemon tea is equally revitalizing and thirst quenching. (Click here for the recipe)

                                    18. Ginger-and-Honey Sweet Tea

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                                      Tea is known to have antioxidants that help you fight aging. Add ginger and honey to it and get a healthy and delightful iced tea. Sip and savor this iced drink on a summer day to beat the heat. (Click here for the recipe)

                                      19. Minty Iced Green Tea

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                                        People love green tea for the health benefits they believe it has. Studies show that drinking green tea helps fight cancer and heart diseases. Mint leaves add a cool, refreshing flavor to this simple green tea. This makes a healthy beverage perfect for quenching your thirst any time and in any season.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                        20. Nutella Blended Coffee Drink

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                                          The infusion of the flavors in this blended coffee is over the top. Chocolate, coffee, Nutella; people love them already for what they are individually. The combo of these three is a unique flavor that you will love even more. (Click here for the recipe)

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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