Caffeine is often consumed in the form of coffee, tea and energy drinks with the idea that the caffeine will increase our cognitive functioning and improve our mood. Judging by the length of the waiting lines in Starbucks, this must especially be true in the mornings. In fact, many of us feel like we really can’t function until we get our first cup of coffee.
It is generally agreed that consuming up to 300 mg of caffeine per day is safe. That would be about the amount of caffeine you would get from three cups of coffee. Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant may want to decrease that amount or skip the caffeine altogether.
Caffeine is a stimulant and some studies show that small amounts of caffeine may increase your mental response time. Other studies show that the cognitive improvements and mood elevation may not really be due to the beneficial aspects of caffeine as much as ending the withdrawal symptoms we feel when we haven’t had our morning “fix” yet.
Increasing the amount of caffeine you take in over 300 mg per day may give you “caffeine jitters.” Larger amounts of caffeine may make you irritable, sleepless and may even trigger anxiety and cause diarrhea.
Kicking the caffeine habit isn’t so good either. Caffeine withdrawal can give you headaches, make you crabby, give you muscle aches and generally you may feel miserable for a few days. However, after a week or so, the withdrawal symptoms will pass.
Caffeine is not only found in coffee, it is also found in black tea, green tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, energy drinks and over the counter medications.