More than ninety percent of the world's population consumes caffeine everyday in one form or another. According to scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), caffeine is used as a drug to cure fatigue, lethargy, and drowsiness, as well as a food additive. It is helpful in a way that it keeps you awake and alert for a few hours post-consumption, but its negative effects, which last longer, include insomnia, dehydration, anxiety, upset stomach, nervousness, faster and uneven heart rate, and increase in blood pressure.
Benefits of CaffeineKeeps you alert and awake, reduces lethargy, fatigue, and drowsiness.
Side Effects of Excess CaffeineAnxiety, nervousness, insomnia, and upset stomach.
The natural sources of caffeine are obvious which include coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts, and cocoa pods. However, the presence of caffeine is not just limited to these substances. Other not-so-obvious sources of caffeine include ice cream, breath fresheners, and iced teas. So, if you are a pregnant woman, or a heart patient, or just someone who is addicted to caffeine, and is trying to cut down on the intake, then steer clear of these foods and drinks.
How much: 2-5 mg caffeine in 150 ml of decaf coffee
Don't be misled by the name. A cup of decaffeinated coffee is not fully caffeine-free. Compared to a regular cup of coffee, which normally contains 60-150 gm of caffeine, a cup of decaf coffee contains lesser amounts, but it is still present.
How much: 100 mg caffeine in 1 mint tablet
Breath fresheners have inadvertently become a part of our daily lives. But did you know, that the small, pill-sized pellet of mint you pop into your mouth without thinking twice, also contains a fair amount of caffeine? A single mint tablet can contain about 100 mg caffeine, the same amount as one cup of regular coffee!
How much: 5-35 mg caffeine in 1 oz. of dark chocolate
Cocoa beans, the most crucial ingredient of chocolate, are a natural source of caffeine. The percentage of caffeine in any chocolate, thus, depends on the amount of cocoa used in it. Also, darker the chocolate, more is the amount of caffeine present in it.
How much: 2-5 mg caffeine in 50 g of chocolate ice cream
One scoop of coffee ice cream would contain more caffeine than a single can of caffeinated soda or one can of Red Bull. A single scoop of chocolate ice cream contains comparatively lesser amounts of caffeine.
How much: 76-80 mg caffeine in 8.4 oz. of energy drink
Consumption of energy drinks increases your energy levels, and makes you more alert. This is because of the caffeine present in them. The amount of caffeine in energy drinks varies, and is known to be as much as 100 mg in some drinks.
How much: 5-7 mg caffeine in 8 oz. of iced tea
It is a downer that you would need to give up such a refreshing drink just to stay away from the caffeine present in it. The varied, flavored iced teas available off the supermarket shelves contain caffeine in small amounts. So, unless you are strictly advised to stay away from caffeine, a small shot of your favorite iced tea won't hurt.
How much: 55 mg caffeine in 12 oz. of non-cola soda
Although some sodas might be totally caffeine-free, others contain high amounts of caffeine. The caffeine content is known to vary, and can be as much as 60-70 mg in some non-cola sodas.
How much: 120-200 mg caffeine per tablet
Caffeine is known to aid weight loss. But, popping diet pills that contain caffeine, although is the easy way out, it definitely is not the smartest or the healthiest move. Caffeine sure does help to lose weight by improving the body's metabolism, but it doesn't do much more than that. For example, an appetite suppressant contains as much as 20 mg of caffeine per tablet.
How much: 5-65 mg of caffeine in one dose of over-the-counter headache medication
Caffeine is a drug which, when consumed in appropriate and advised amounts, is known to cure headaches. However, excessive intake of caffeine in the form of painkiller-overdose can lead to serious health issues.
Although a stimulant, if caffeine is consumed in excess amounts, it can lead to medical issues. Hence, moderation is the key. Also, prevention is always better than cure; and when it comes to health and personal well-being, prevention becomes the topmost priority. Keep yourself educated, and stay healthy!