Every year when I go to the doctor’s office for my annual check up he asks me, “Do you smoke?” and my answers is always “No”. Then he asks “How often do you drink alcohol?” and I say “Never”. Then he asks “How often do you drink coffee or tea?” and my answer is “Several times every day.” And he frowns.
It’s true. I admit that I love iced tea, I really do. It turns out that I’m not alone. According to WebMD “Caffeine is consumed daily by an estimated 85% of adults in the U.S. in the form of coffee, tea, and sodas. The average daily number of cups per coffee drinker is 3.3, and 64% of all coffee is consumed at breakfast.”
Of all the bad things in the world and all the bad habits we could have, I think three iced teas and an iced coffee every day are the least of my worries, but I guess I’m wrong.
Is caffeine really bad for you?
Of course just like most things in life that aren’t very good for us, caffeine is OK if taken in moderation. However, overdoing it can have several negative effects on the body and mind. This infographic from HealthLine.com sows that caffeine can cause confusion and muscle aches. It can also be the cause of increased urination, diarrhea and rapid heartbeat. In extreme cases too much caffeine can cause vomiting, increased blood pressure and harm an unborn child.
Those symptoms don’t sound very pleasing, but they are worst case scenarios.
The upside of caffeine
It’s not all bad. In fact, there are several positive medical uses of caffeine. According to WebMD “Caffeine is most commonly used to improve mental alertness, but is also used with painkillers for treating migraine headaches.” It’s also noted by WebMD that caffeine can be used to treat asthma, gallbladder disease, ADHD, shortness of breath in newborns, and low blood pressure. Caffeine can also be used to enhance performance and stimulate the body for athletes, used in weight loss and can be a controlling factor for type 2 diabetes.
How much caffeine is OK?
If you don’t want to live a life without caffeine all you need to do is intake it in moderation. HealthLine.com says “According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 to 600 milligrams of caffeine per day. How much caffeine each beverage contains varies a lot, so reading labels is important.
There’s also a great variation in the amount of caffeine an individual can tolerate without unpleasant side effects. If you consume roughly the same amount of caffeine every day, you can develop a tolerance to it. Your tolerance level is affected by your age, body mass, and any health conditions you may have. Caffeine can also interact with certain medications.”
My life without caffeine
Every year my doctor tells me to cut down on my level of caffeine and in my defense I try to make a solid effort to live a life without caffeine. However just like my annual New Year’s resolution of learning to cook, the best intentions only last a few days.
I told myself that I would try to cut out caffeine for a week. I figured that a week was enough time to flush out the existing caffeine in my body, find decaffeinated alternatives to for the iced tea and iced coffee habit as well as let my body get used to a life without caffeine.
Well, I was wrong. I only lasted three days. As we know caffeine is a stimulant and although too much of it can provoke headaches I need it to function properly. There’s nothing like that little boost in the morning to get us going, the taste of an iced cold drink with lunch and a little stimulated pick me up in the mid afternoon.
I love caffeine and that’s just the way it is. My life without caffeine is non existent. So let’s all raise our iced coffee and cheers to a day with caffeine.