Coffee Coffee Coffee?

It’s that time of year again! Exam season is upon us, and we know that means ample study time. If you haven’t already seen the Dietitian Tips for the Exam Season blog, here’s a quick recap: make time for balanced meals, take much needed study breaks, make sleep a priority, stay hydrated and be mindful of your caffeine intake.  

For this blog, let’s dive a little deeper into caffeine.  

Where is caffeine found? Caffeine is found naturally and can be added to food and beverages. Some common products include coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, guarana, yerba mate, energy drinks, soda and some cold and pain remedies. 

How does caffeine work? With a common misconception that caffeine gives us energy, let’s look at the science behind how caffeine works! In your brain, adenosine (a chemical molecule) is created and it binds to the adenosine receptors. Once it binds, it causes drowsiness by slowing down nerve cell activity. Because caffeine looks like adenosine, nerve cells mistakenly bind with its receptors. The difference, however, is that caffeine does not slow down the cell’s activity (like adenosine) but rather speeds it up, misleading your tired body. Read more here. 

How much is too much? It is important to note that individual’s sensitivity to caffeine is different. Too much caffeine can cause irritability, nervousness, headaches, and trouble sleeping so we encourage you to be mindful of your caffeine intake. The safe recommended amount for men and women aged 19 and older is 400mg a day, according to Health Canada. See what this looks like in the graphics below.   

 So now what?

As we encourage you to be mindful of your caffeine intake, here are five tips to help:  

  1. Mix regular coffee with decaffeinated coffee 
  2. Brew tea for less time (the longer the tea bag is steeping, the more caffeine it will have) 
  3. Reuse tea bags (the second cup won’t have as much caffeine, but still flavour) 
  4. Stay refreshed with water, add some flavour with berries or lemon 
  5. Warm up with herbal tea 

For more information on caffeine, check out the articles below:

Best of Luck on your Exams!! 

Jaspreet Multani is a 4th-year undergraduate student at Queen’s University completing her Honours degree in Global Developmental Studies. Jaspreet is currently the Student Health and Wellness Marketing Intern at Queen’s Hospitality Services. Her main interests are sustainability, food waste, food security, and nutritional and sustainability-oriented marketing.

Article reviewed and edited by Registered Dietitian and Wellness Manager for Queen’s Hospitality Service

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