March is Nutrition Month!
Caffeine is found in many beverages and foods, including soft drinks, coffee, tea, chocolate as well as cold and headache medications. In Canada, most caffeine is consumed from coffee drinks in adults, and from cola drinks in children.
Caffeine is a stimulant so many of us know the effects it can have, including alertness (especially on Monday morning). Tolerance to caffeine, however, varies widely from person to person, so health concerns related to caffeine consumption can include rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, irritability, palpitations, insomnia, nervousness and fertility problems.
So how much caffeine is okay? Health Canada recommends no more than 400 mg of caffeine a day (or 3 8-ounce cups of coffee) for healthy adults. This is equivalent to one medium + one small Tim Horton’s coffees, or one extra large/day. Pregnant women need to be a little more careful and consume no more than 300 mg/day (about 2 8-ounce coffees/day) or 1 large Tim Horton’s coffee/day.
Here’s an interesting infographic on caffeine amounts in many common beverages to help you compare how you measure up.
Bottom line: Enjoy your morning cup (or two) of joe but do so in moderation. If you’re trying to cut back, try mixing your regular coffee with half decaffeinated coffee, try caffeine-free or low-caffeine teas, hot apple cider or a milky coffee like a latte or cafe-au-lait.