Is caffeine healthy and how much can you tolerate? It differs for everyone but Joy Bauer, TODAY nutrition expert, is giving some guidelines. Not only is it perfectly safe to drink caffeinated drinks, there are some health benefits to consuming a moderate amount of caffeine. So what is moderate? A standard cup of coffee has between 100 and 150 milligrams of caffeine. Moderate daily consumption is between 300 and 400 milligrams or three to four cups of coffee. Also, moderate consumption of tea would be six to eight cups daily since tea has half the amount of caffeine as coffee and tea offers beneficial antioxidants.
You can develop an increased tolerance to caffeine by regularly drinking caffeinated coffee and tea. Personal tolerance is affected by body size, age, genetics, and use of medication. If you find yourself jittery, irritable, having an upset stomach or having trouble sleeping you need to adjust your caffeine intake to your own personal limits. One adjustment measure is to drink half decaf and half regular coffee. And what about chocolate? You can enjoy milk and dark chocolate: milk chocolate has six milligrams of caffeine per ounce; dark chocolate has twenty to thirty milligrams per ounce.
Not everyone should be included in this discussion of caffeinated drinks. Most importantly, check with your physician before changing your diet relative to caffeine. Even though the evidence is pretty solid regarding caffeine and the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, there can be detrimental effects of caffeine use such as raised blood pressure. There is significant evidence that the onset of Parkinson’s disease and dementia may be deterred by caffeine. The same is true for strokes and heart rhythm issues. However, caution should be exercised in using some evidence as solid proof. It may be that caffeine users have better diets, exercise more, or have protective genes. Once again, enjoy your caffeine but keep your doctor in the loop.