caffeine good for your healthDid you know that about 85 percent of American adults consume some form of caffeine on a daily basis? From espressos and energy drinks to colas and teas, you can say that caffeine has become as commonplace as H20. But is caffeine good for your health? How much can I have in one day? And where does this stimulant come from?

Where Does Caffeine Come From?

Caffeine is extracted from many different sources, and it is found in at least sixty plants. Where it actually comes from depends on what you’re eating or drinking. We all know that the caffeine in your coffee comes from coffee beans, and the caffeine in tea comes from the actual tea leaves. But the caffeine found in soda is actually extracted from kola nuts, and the caffeine in chocolate comes from cacao pods.

Is Caffeine Good For Your Health?

There are positives and negatives to drinking caffeine, and sometimes it all depends on the person. Some reports show that the stimulating side effects of caffeine can boost mood and brain function. A Harvard study showed a 20 percent lower risk of depression in women who consume caffeine regularly. Another showed how caffeine may also reduce the risk of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s by 28 to 60 percent.

Caffeine can also give you the boost you need to exercise longer and harder. It may also help speed up your metabolism. One report showed that drinking 300mg of coffee may help you burn 79 more calories per day. However, studies haven’t been able to prove caffeine is connected to long term weight loss.

And contrary to what many believe, caffeine may actually be good for the heart. Women who drank one to four cups of coffee per day were said to have a lower risk of heart attack. Evidence also shows a lower risk of stroke and diabetes in coffee drinkers. But be careful how you take your coffee—your risk for diabetes increases if you’re adding too much sugar.

Caffeine can also have negative side effects that you’ve probably heard of before. It can cause anxiety, dehydration, dependency, dizziness, and insomnia.

What’s a Safe Amount of Coffee to Drink Daily?

According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy adults can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. The problem is most people don’t know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee or an energy drink. To help you regulate your daily caffeine intake, here is an estimate of the amount of caffeine found in different products:

  • 8-ounce cup of coffee: 95-200 mg
  • 12-ounce can of cola: 35-45 mg
  • 8-ounce energy drink: 70-100 mg
  • 8-ounce cup of tea: 14-60 mg
  • Decaffeinated coffee: 3–12 mg
  • 8-ounce cup of Yerba Mate: 65–130 mg
  • Chocolate milk and other cocoa beverages: 2–7 mg

You also want to pay attention to how much your body can handle. Not everyone can handle 400mg of caffeine a day.

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