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Caffeine and Health

12 Apr

Me, like many other millions of people love coffee. I can’t leave home without drinking my cup of coffee in the morning. People sometimes think that because I am from Colombia I drink coffee all day long, I don’t. In Colombia most people use a small 4 ounce cup to drink their coffee three or four times during the day. The coffee is not expresso, it is an Americano style and you drink it with regular sugar and no cream.

My morning cup of coffee of almost 4 ounces and gives me between 79-89 mg of caffeine. I probably will have an instant coffee after lunch at work; this one will give close to 65 mg.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 300 mg per person per day – the equivalent to between two and four cups of coffee, is considered to be a moderate caffeine intake, which according to many studies, can promote a variety of health benefits.

Many studies have shown that moderate caffeine intake, 300 milligrams per day, is safe:

  • Caffeine in moderation is safe for children. However, as with all foods and beverages, parents need to use common sense in the amount of caffeine they allow their children to consume.
  • Caffeine in moderation during pregnancy is safe. However, pregnant women are recommended to monitor their caffeine intake and talk to their health care provider about caffeine intake.
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease (FBD) is not caused or worsened by caffeine consumption.
  • Osteoporosis is not caused or worsened by moderate caffeine intake.
  • Caffeine does not change blood cholesterol.
  • Caffeine does not cause chronic high blood pressure. However, people who have high blood pressure should consult their health care provider about caffeine intake.
  • Caffeine does not cause increased risk of heart disease. However, people who have heart disease should consult their health care provider about caffeine intake.

Other studies have also suggested that caffeine intake may protect against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

IMG_20160412_091949_780The effects of caffeine are dependent on each person’s genetic characteristics and lifestyle factors. Doctors should be discussing caffeine use with their patients to determine whether they are ingesting safe levels of the stimulant. This is particularly important for children and adolescents.

Most kids don’t drink coffee until adolescence, but there are many sources of caffeine available to them before then: soda (38 milligrams in a 12-ounce can of Pepsi), bottled iced tea (60 milligrams in an 18.5-ounce bottle of Lipton Pure Leaf), energy drinks (80 milligrams in a can of Red Bull) and even Hershey’s kisses (one milligram in each of the little candies.) My son and I love kisses, the serving size is only two little candies.

A listing of the caffeine content of various foods and drinks can be found at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372?pg=2 .

Caffeine acts as a stimulant by activating the central nervous system. It can combat tiredness and improve concentration and focus. According to the University of Michigan Health Service, the stimulating effects of caffeine can start as early as 15 minutes after consumption and last up to 6 hours.

If you enjoy drinking coffee, go for it — there is ample evidence that coffee is a highly functional beverage that gives one pleasure, robust health, and a long life.

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