Do you wake up thinking about that first cup of joe, java, jamoke or whatever you might call it. Maybe you’re a tea drinker craving that fine English Breakfast blend. Each to his (or her) own!
No matter which way you lean, you’re one of the hundreds of millions who make caffeine the world’s most heavily used drug, coffee the most widely consumed beverage and tea, a not too distant second.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring alkaloid and is found in more than 60 plant species. Coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa, kola nuts and guarana are probably the best known sources.
Caffeine is a stimulant. When it hits our bloodstream about an hour after being consumed, it increases our blood pressure and gets our adrenal glands pumping out more adrenaline. We get the ‘boost’ we were seeking which we’re hoping will keep us energized and focused.
When it hits the brain it also triggers the release of dopamine and glutamine. These help to improve mood and have also been shown to reduce the risk of depression. The caffeine also blocks a molecule called adenosine in the brain. Adenosine is the compound that makes us feel sleepy.
How much caffeine is enough?
So how much coffee should you limit yourself to each day. Of course, that varies from one person to the next. Some have a very high tolerance (which BTW, increases with prolonged consumption) while others among us can get jittery on a single cup. But the good news is that, apart from the jitters (and maybe the runs), you’re not likely to OD on coffee or tea.*
Around 400 milligrams of caffeine is about as much as anyone can handle comfortably in a 24 hour period. If we use ‘Red Bulls’ as an international measure, that’s about five cans a day. That’s a lot!
Another international measure would be the Nespresso coffee pods which have become ubiquitous. They typically contain around 60 – 65 milligrams of caffeine. A third convenient measure is the Starbucks Short Black which is around 75 milligrams of caffeine.
Caffeine from that first morning cup is slowly purged over a 5 – 6 hour period. So if you typically have your first coffee at 7:30am, another at 9:30am and then a third around noon, you may actually find that you lose focus rather than gain it. That’s because the gross amount of caffiene in your system is making you jittery.
Here’s a really interesting video we came across that may just change the way you start your day…
* The FDA has issued warnings to suppliers of powdered, pure caffeine since that form of caffeine t is definitely capable of damaging your health. A single teaspoon (an inaccurate measure at the best of times) contains the equivalent of close to 30 cups of coffee!
So is it coffee or tea and how many times a day? I drink both and definitely test that 400mg limit most days :)