When was the last time you really paid attention to how much caffeine you consumed in a day? Between your coffee, tea and even certain foods in your diet, you could be taking in more than you realize.
Here are 10 facts about caffeine you need to know:
1. Caffeine is a substance, a naturally occurring chemical with a bitter taste. The scientific name for caffeine is trimethylxanthine. Caffeine is naturally present in coffee beans and tea leaves as well as cocoa beans. That's right, your favorite chocolate bar contains caffeine.
2. Consuming a moderate amount of caffeine on a daily basis, about 300 mg (which is equivalent to two to three cups of coffee) is considered safe in those without an established sensitivity.
3. Certain medications, including cold medicines and painkillers include caffeine -- caffeine has natural analgesic properties itself.
4. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), which is comprised of the brain and spinal cord.
5. You can become physically dependent on caffeine, although not in the same way as a narcotic drug or alcohol. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal may include headache, change in mood, anxiety, fatigue and poor concentration.
6. Caffeine interacts with certain medications, including stimulants, medications used to treat heart conditions and heart disease, antidepressants (MAOIs) and hormones. If you're taking any type of medication, it's important to check how it interacts with caffeine.
7. Caffeine works as a natural diuretic, causing you to urinate more often. Be sure to drink plenty of water.
8. Caffeine can cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, especially in those with sensitivity.
9. Symptoms of consuming too much caffeine include the jitters, difficulty sleeping, headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and dehydration.
10. Caffeine cannot help you sober up after a night of drinking.
If you're concerned about how caffeine is affecting you, talk to your doctor. There are natural energy boosters that are free of caffeine, such as ginseng and Ginkgo biloba that you can try as well.
Other lifestyle changes can also impact how much energy you have throughout the day. Getting at lest eight hours of sleep per night and having a protein-rich breakfast can help you feel more alert until lunchtime. Make sure your lunch and dinner include whole grains and avoid processed, sugar-filled foods which can lead to those crashes that often send you running for caffeine.
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