Am I drinking too much coffee?

Cup of coffee

If you’re anything like me, coffee is part of your blood. I cannot get through the day without it and the thought of missing my morning brew makes me a little teary eyed.

But how do I know if I am drinking too much coffee?

I turned to Janae Richey a registered dietitian at Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center for the answers.

Richey explained that the buzz in regular coffee comes from caffeine, a natural stimulant which can be addictive.

“If you miss your morning cup, do you get shaky and irritable?” asked Richey. “You may have a dependence on caffeine. To avoid the unpleasant side effects of caffeine withdrawal, be sure to slowly phase coffee and other caffeine-containing substances out of your diet, not all at once!”

The average cup of coffee has 95 mg caffeine. Do you like espresso? One shot (usually an ounce) has only 64 mg of caffeine.  Everyone has their own personal caffeine limit, but generally sticking to no more than 300 mg a day (three cups of coffee) is recommended.

“But listen to your body!” explained Richey.

So what are the signs that I am drinking too much coffee for my body?

“Signs you might be drinking too much coffee are restlessness, irritability, confusion, dizziness, and a rapid heart rate,” said Richey. “Caffeine toxicity is a possibility, but most often it is caused by other sources of caffeine, i.e. diet pills or energy supplements (including energy drinks).”

For those worried about caffeine and heart health, coffee is not considered a significant contributor to hypertension. In fact, coffee is a rich source of antioxidants which have been shown to be protective against disease. Ultimately your doctor will let you know if you should cut out the caffeine, but overall, research has linked coffee consumption to lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease, Parkinson’s, dementia and even dental cavities. However, it is important to realize that it hasn’t been proved to prevent these diseases, just a common link.

The final word: Keep your intake moderate to enjoy the buzz and potential health benefits in each cup!

Speaking for myself, there is no way you are going to pry that forth cup of coffee out of my hands in the morning…

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