Would you rather give up your cell phone for a month or stop drinking coffee? Do you trudge to the coffee pot before any other morning activity? If so, you’re not alone. Statistics show that 83% of Americans drink coffee, and most would admit to being totally addicted to their morning java. Coffee is our favorite morning pick-me up, but do you wonder if caffeine isn’t letting you down in the long run?

Your Brain on Caffeine

Caffeine blocks a nerve chemical called adenosine, which is responsible for slowing down nerve activity in the brain. Caffeine temporarily elevates blood sugar and serotonin and increases the activity of dopamine. Caffeine increases the levels of three hormones which increase oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain, fuel muscle activity, increase heart rate, and reinforce ability to concentrate. These effects come together to produce a state of wakefulness. http://time.com/64985/how-caffeine-affects-brain/

How Much is Too Much?

400 mg is the safest average amount for adult, that’s roughly the amount in 4 cups of brewed coffee. Above that level, many people will get the coffee jitters, resulting in side effects such as insomnia, nervousness, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors and upset stomach. Even a small amount of caffeine can contribute to depression and anxiety, and an excess of caffeine can disrupt sleep, resulting in negative effects on your mood. Caffeine can stay in the body for up to 10 hours. If you have depression, consider cutting back on caffeine intake to see if your mood improves.

Caffeine may be found in unexpected places. Below are some tips for curbing your caffeine intake:

  • Resize your cup – A 5 oz. cup (150 ml) of brewed coffee contains on average 80 mg of caffeine. A 16 oz. Starbucks brewed coffee has 330 mg of caffeine. http://www.caffeineinformer.com/the-complete-guide-to-starbucks-caffeine. Percolated coffee has slightly less caffeine than drip coffee.
  • Try mixing regular coffee and decaf 50/50 to painlessly reduce your caffeine intake.
  • Colas and energy drinks are sources of caffeine, but also check your medications, which may contain caffeine. One Excedrin tablet contains 65 mg. caffeine.
  • Substitute green tea for your noon or mid-afternoon pick-me up. l-Theanine, a component found primarily in green tea, may help to relax the mind and reduce stress.

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