Caffeine, known in medical circles as trimethylxanthine, is an alkaloid that also works as a psychoactive drug and a stimulant of the central nervous system. Caffeine is found naturally in a variety of plants. Caffeine can also be created synthetically. The word caffeine is derived from the German word kaffee and the French word café, which both translate to coffee. When taken, caffeine is absorbed within 45 minutes and its effects wear off after three hours.
MedicineNet.com reports that an eight ounce cup of coffee contains anywhere from 95 to 135 milligrams of caffeine. A cup of plain brew coffee possesses 135 milligrams of caffeine and a cup of instant coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine. Even decaffeinated coffee contains caffeine. A cup of plain decaf coffee holds five milligrams of caffeine. A one-ounce espresso has 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine.
A daily intake of 130 to 300 milligrams of caffeine is considered low to moderate, according to Medicine.Net.com. Anything more than 600 milligrams of caffeine per day is considered excessive. The average person consumes 280 milligrams of caffeine daily.
Based on the information I’ve provided above, here is my professional (and personal) opinion of coffee consumption, broken down in bullet points that I hope may clear some caffeine/coffee confusion:
1. Coffee and any caffeinated beverage is dehydrating to the colon, to your body cells, to the skin, and organs. You really should make WATER your first beverage of the day, before having your cup of joe, and you should compensate with 2 glasses of water for every cup of coffee you drink.
2. I am less concerned with the amount of caffeine in your coffee, as I am with the choice of sweetener and/or creamer you put IN your coffee. Most non-dairy flavored creamers are chemically-laden, artificially-sweetened substances, that do not provide any nutrition but rather add toxicity. (Come on, a “Cinnabon” or “Thin Mint” flavored creamer???? Is that necessary?) Adding a packet (or two) of “blue”, “pink”, or “yellow” sweetener, also negates nutrition by adding artificial/chemicals to the body. If you’re starting your first few hours of your day with 2-3 cups of coffee PLUS 2-8 tbs of the above mentioned products, you are starting your day off on the wrong track, leading to possible side effects and continued carb cravings. I prefer almond or coconut-based milk/creamers (even the flavored ones), or organic half-n-half with natural sugar-in-the-raw, stevia, or agave if you must have your coffee sweet and creamy. Read the labels and consider what you’re really putting in your body.
3. Coffee is acidic-forming in the body. We thrive in a slightly alkaline state, so if you’re consuming more than two cups of regular brew or decaf or espresso a day, I believe that acidity (more so than the caffeine) is detrimental to normal body function and pH balance of the digestive tract and bloodstream.
4. Some of us are more sensitive to caffeine, and some of us are dependent on it. My advice is, enjoy one cup in the morning, black, or with healthy cream/sugar options (mentioned above), sip it slowly, enjoying its richness and warmth. Drink it only after you’ve hydrated with water, and ideally eat something with healthy protein within a half-hour of drinking it so your body can assimilate the coffee more gently. If you desire an additional cup as a mid-morning or afternoon pick-me-up, consider what I drink–instant OrganoGold coffee, infused with ganoderma extract which has a lower but natural caffeine content, is alkalizing (vs. acidic) to the body, and promotes many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and blood sugar-balancing properties. It also has a calming effect. You know you’re dependent/addicted to coffee if you quit drinking it altogether for 24-48 hours and present with headache. That indicates dependency.
5. As with anything, drink coffee in moderation, hydrate, and check your daily symptoms: jitters? irrational irritability? temperature change? dry mouth? heartburn? racing pulse? can’t sleep at night? All of those things indicate a good chance you’re drinking too much coffee, or you may be ultra-sensitive to caffeine.
There’s much I could add to this story regarding the “super-size” coffee drinks that I consider indulgent desserts (i.e., frappucinos, mochas, etc.), but I’ll save that for the next blog. A little caffeine in a cute coffee mug each morning shouldn’t hurt anyone–it’s quite the enjoyable ritual. Just be smart about what you’re adding to it, how much water you’re drinking around it, and stop after two cups. In the meantime, call me for some “coffee talk”. 🙂