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Caffeine is an organic compound that is found naturally in plant foods such as tea and coffee.  The caffeine content of different beverages can vary greatly based on processing.  An 8 oz cup of green tea has 24-40mg, while 1 oz of espresso has 40-75mg.  Some energy drinks with added caffeine have as much as 200mg in 2 oz!  With the growing popularity of super-charged energy beverages, some consumers are drinking hundreds of milligrams of caffeine each day.  A recent study found that college students consume an average of almost 1500mg per week.

Caffeine has been designated Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration.  This means it can be used as an additive in foods, beverages, and over-the-counter drugs.  However some research has shown that caffeine in large doses can have adverse effects including sleeplessness, anxiety, and rapid, irregular heart beat.  A 2010 study found that chronic heavy caffeine use (950mg/day) might negatively affect blood vessels in the brain.

To avoid health complications, keep caffeine consumption under 300mg daily.  If you’d like to replace your caffeinated beverage with something else warm and tasty, there are herbal options available.  Roasted chicory and dandelion root have an earthy flavor like coffee.  Rooibos tea has many of the antioxidants that other teas contain, but without the caffeine.

To see the caffeine content of some common beverages, check out this page from the Mayo Clinic.

This article is a reprint of a post I wrote for Sound Integrated Health News.

6/11/2013 02:46:46 pm

I have a high tolerance for caffeine as it is, so I usually like to read about posts like these. I am trying to limit my consumption as it is, but this can be hard to do, especially when I am working the late nights like tonight. I will be keeping all of this in mind of course!

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6/22/2013 09:35:41 am

I appreciate this post, but honestly there seems to be so much conflicting research out there that I have to take these with a grain of salt. Not long ago, I came across an article which described how coffee drinkers tend to have a lower risk of developing cancer in the long run.

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