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When was the last time you had a cup of coffee, tea, or a soft drink? All those things mentioned have something in common – caffeine! To the coffee connoisseurs, tea enthusiasts, and casual fans of coffee, tea, or soda, have you ever wondered about the effects of caffeine on your health? It is known that caffeine helps keep you alert and that might be a reason why many people consume coffee and tea. But for some people, caffeine may make them feel restless, anxious, and nervous or could give them insomnia or an upset stomach. Consuming too much caffeine may also cause rapid heart rates and headaches. This leads to the next question that we consumers may have, and that is: is all that caffeine safe?

Caffeine is safe in moderation and in combination with a balanced diet and physical activity.  For different age groups, there are different recommendations. For women and men above 19 years old, it is recommended to have no more than 3 cups of 8 oz regular coffee per day. Pregnant women are recommended to have no more than 2 cups of 8 oz regular coffee per day.

You may have also heard people saying coffee is a diuretic (something that increases the need to urinate more often) and can be dehydrating, but majority of the research consistently did not find caffeine to be a diuretic when less than 226mg of caffeine (approximately 1-2 cups of coffee, or  5-6 cups of black tea, or 4-5 cans of soft drinks) were consumed. However, when doses of caffeine were elevated (ie. up to 240mg to 640mg), it did act as a diuretic for some individuals but was not dehydrating. So do not worry about caffeine being dehydrating, because the hydration levels for caffeine and non-caffeinated beverages are about the same.

Caption: Caffeine is found in foods such as coffee!