How much thought do you give caffeine? March is National Caffeine Month. It’s a good time to look at what caffeine does in the body and whether or not your parents should be limiting their intake.
What Does Caffeine Do?
Caffeine is an essential part of many plants. It’s a substance with stimulant properties that is found in cacao, coffee beans, kola nuts, and tea leaves. Caffeine can also be created in a lab and used in beverages, foods, and medications.
It is a stimulant, however, which can help make you feel alert and awake by energizing you. It is a diuretic and helps the body remove excess water and salt. All of that can be helpful.
At the same time, caffeine increases blood pressure. Stomach acid production increases and can lead to heartburn in some people. It also impacts how well the body absorbs calcium.
How Much is Too Much?
The caffeine in a cup of coffee, caffeinated soda, tea, or an energy beverage takes up to an hour to affect you. Those effects can last for as much as six hours. The recommendation is that people consume no more than 400 mg per day. Here’s the amount of caffeine in common foods and beverages.
- 1.5 ounce of dark chocolate: 18 mg
- 1.5 ounce of milk chocolate: 9 mg
- 8 ounces of coffee: up to 200mg
- 8 ounces of an energy drink: up to 100 mg
- 8 ounces of tea: up to 60 mg
- 12-ounce can of cola: up to 45mg
If your mom and dad have a 16-ounce mug of coffee each morning and drink a high-potency coffee, they’re meeting the daily requirement in just one cup. Caffeine values do range from one type of coffee to the next and depend on how many ground beans you use to make each pot or cup.
Risks of Too Much Caffeine
For your parents, one of the biggest risks of too much caffeine is that it can cause dehydration. It’s a diuretic, so the body will process water faster. If they’re not drinking enough to compensate for that loss, they risk dehydration.
High blood pressure is another risk. If your mom and dad already have high blood pressure, you should talk to the family doctor about limiting caffeine. You may need to purchase decaf coffee, teas, and other beverages instead.
Conditions like high blood pressure and kidney disease need careful monitoring. If your mom and dad love their daily cups of tea or coffee, someone may need to be watching how much they drink.
Senior care can help. Caregivers can make sure they’re limiting caffeine intake and balancing coffee and tea with fruit juice, water, and seltzer. Call a senior care agency to schedule and price caregivers’ services.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Concord, NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail
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