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Caffeine and Your Health: What You Need to Know

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and it can be found in many of our favorite foods and beverages. It’s known to increase alertness and improve focus—but what else do you need to know about caffeine?

How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

The amount of caffeine that is considered safe for an individual varies greatly depending on factors such as age, size, gender, and overall health. Generally speaking, however, up to 400 milligrams per day is considered safe for healthy adults. That works out to roughly four 8-ounce cups of coffee or ten 12-ounce cans of soda per day. Consuming more than this amount may cause symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness.

It’s important to note that some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others, so it’s best to experiment with how much you can safely consume before going overboard.

How Caffeine Can Impact Your Health

Too much caffeine can lead to unpleasant side effects such as jitters or an upset stomach, but there are also potential benefits associated with moderate consumption.

The Benefits of Caffeine Consumption

Studies have shown that drinking coffee regularly can reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, strokes, and other neurological diseases like Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer's disease.

Consuming caffeinated beverages can help reduce fatigue and improve concentration during activities such as studying or work tasks, improve physical performance, and enhance alertness which can help make exercise more enjoyable for those who find it difficult to get motivated.

Who Should Not Consume Caffeine?

The following individuals should not consume caffeine or limit their consumption due to their increased risk of potential adverse effects:

  • Individuals with Underlying Heart Conditions: Those with underlying health conditions that affect the heart, such as high blood pressure or a heart condition, should avoid consuming caffeine.
  • Individuals That Are At Risk for Diabetes: Studies show individuals at risk of developing diabetes can benefit from limiting their caffeine intake.
  • Individuals that Are Pregnant: Pregnant women should limit their daily caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams or less per day due to potential adverse effects on the fetus.
  • Individuals with Anemia: Caffeine is known to impede iron absorption in those with anemia, making these individuals better off abstaining from the stimulant.
  • Individuals with Sensitivity to Stimulants: Those who are sensitive to stimulants may want to avoid caffeine completely or consume very limited amounts as they may be prone to experiencing anxiety, irritability, and feelings of restlessness.

Common Sources of Caffeine

Caffeine is found in a variety of foods and drinks, including coffee, tea, energy drinks, sodas, and even chocolate! While most people think first about coffee when they hear the word “caffeine,” it’s important to remember that there are a number of other dietary sources, too – though some contain higher amounts than others:

  • Coffee typically contains 95-200 mg/cup, while tea has just 47 mg/cup on average.
  • Energy drinks often contain large amounts (80-200 mg/cup), while soft drinks generally have less (10-55 mg/can).
  • Chocolate has very small amounts (5-35 mg per bar), so eating a few pieces won't give you too much buzz, but it can certainly add up over time if you're not careful!

Listen to Your Body

When thinking about caffeine, it's important to consider its risks and benefits before deciding how much – if any – you should consume each day. Everyone's body responds differently, so you must experiment with different levels to find what works best. Like many things, moderation is key; too little won't give you any benefits, while too much could cause unpleasant side effects.

If you are experiencing negative side effects associated with caffeine consumption, do not hesitate to stop in at one of our convenient locations. Call one of our Superior Urgent Care locations or contact us online to schedule your appointment today.