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What we should know about caffeine, that famous “phenomenal substance”?!

It’s true that a great number of us consume caffeine on daily basis (or almost). Also, we find ourselves a lot of excuses to do so: I’m tired; I have trouble concentrating; I can’t start a normal day without it; etc. Well, in reality, a small dose of caffeine may increase our mental abilities and improve our “mood”. However, a “strong” consumption of caffeine can speed up the heart rate as well as breathing activity. It can also cause nausea, muscle cramps, headaches, insomnia, irritability and nervousness.

In the case of healthy people, a consumption of 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day bears no risk to the health; this is of course with the exception of pregnant or lactating ladies who must limit their caffeine intake to a maximum of 2 cups of coffee per day. Moreover, some people should pay particular attention to foods and beverages containing caffeine, especially those prone to bleeding, those with depressive attitudes, those suffering from kidney disease, etc. Caffeine consumption can be risky for such individuals; as such, they should always discuss this matter with their doctor.

Some examples of foods and beverages that contain caffeine: coffee, filtered coffee, regular instant coffee, espresso, tea, some soft drinks (cola-based drinks primarily), most energy drinks, chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate pudding as well as some medications. Moreover, decaffeinated instant coffee contains such substance although in a much lower quantity; thus, we should pay attention to the number of cups consumed.

Finally, we should be aware that the effect of some medications may be depreciated in the presence of caffeine which can in some cases increase their side effects or, in some other cases, diminish their effectiveness. As a result, it is advisable to always talk with the doctor who can explain the possible interactions of caffeine with the medications we may be taking.

About Denise Abou Jamra

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