The Buzz on Caffeine

We’re in the final stretch of the school year. You’re deep into projects, with thoughts of exam season looming. You are not alone if you find yourself relying on that extra cup of coffee to power through your day. 

There’s nothing wrong with a little caffeine, but let’s talk about safe limits and other ways you can get that boost of energy you’re looking for. 

The daily level of caffeine considered safe for those 19 years and older is 400 milligrams (mg) per day. This is equivalent to three 8 ounce cups of coffee. Some other sources of caffeine include: tea (black, green, oolong), cola, iced tea, energy drinks, chocolate, certain sports supplements (ie. “pre-workout”) and kombucha. Even decaf coffee and tea can contain up to 15 mg caffeine! For more specifics, look here.

Some people can be especially sensitive to caffeine, which can cause: 

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability 
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches

Not all caffeine is created equal. Beverages like coffee and tea which are sipped slowly differ from caffeine in the form of energy shots, supplements, etc. which are consumed in a short time and are therefore, released in the bloodstream more quickly. 

If you find yourself relying on caffeine a little too much, consider these alternatives to maintain energy and keep you alert. 

1) Stay hydrated with water. Dehydration can lead you to feel sluggish. If water feels boring, try herbal teas, sparkling water, or dress it up by infusing with fruit or herbs! 

2) Eat regularly through the day. Consistent nutrition through the day will keep your mind sharp and prevent dips in energy. Choose meals and snacks balanced in fiber and protein. Food and beverages high in sugar will give you short term energy, that is short lived (think kid with a sugar rush).

3) Get moving! No, you don’t have to sweat it out on the treadmill (although you can!). Taking 10 minute breaks to step outside and get some fresh air gives your mind and body a welcome boost in energy. 

As with most nutrition tips and recommendations, remember moderation is key! 

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