Healthier Ways to Get Your Caffeine
The best ways to get your boost
By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
If my husband doesn't drink some by 10 a.m., he can expect a man-sized headache by early afternoon. My best friend can't speak in full sentences until she gets hers. I'm talking about coffee, of course! But the real addiction here is to the caffeine IN coffee, not coffee itself.
My husband is a two-mugs-a-day drinker, so it's not like he's guzzling java all day long. Still, his body is dependent on the caffeine kick from those two mugs. As long as he gets one cup of coffee in the a.m., he's generally headache-free. Trust me; I've spent many a morning on vacation tracking down a coffee source for him.
The truth is that there are lots of ways to get your caffeine fix. Some of the people chugging down those Big Gulps all afternoon may be in it for the caffeine. Another popular way to get caffeine is tea, hot or iced. A can of diet cola (or similar) will give you around 42 milligrams of caffeine, while a cup of hot tea usually has almost 50 milligrams.
I'm afraid eating chocolate can't compete with the caffeine power of a cup of Joe. Even a 2-ounce chocolate bar has only 36 milligrams of caffeine -- a drop in the bucket for hard-core espresso drinkers! Not that caffeine is the main reason people eat chocolate, but be warned that getting your caffeine fix in the form of chocolate is going to cost you in calories! Two ounces of chocolate will run you approximately 270 calories and 16 grams of fat.
Here's a chart of some common caffeine sources and exactly how much of a wallop each packs:
Possible Caffeine Benefits
If you asked people what the biggest benefit to caffeine is, most would probably list the lift in energy and mood. But there may be other health benefits to caffeine, as well as to other components in coffee and tea. (All you veteran java junkies should note that some of caffeine's effects may lessen with long-term consumption.)
Here's what research has found out about some of the possible benefits of coffee, tea, and caffeine:
- Allergic Skin Disorders
- Bacterial Skin Diseases
- Bites and Infestations
- Diseases of Pigment
- Fungal Skin Diseases
- Medical Anatomy and Illustrations
- Noncancerous, Precancerous & Cancerous Tumors
- Oral Health Conditions
- Papules, Scales, Plaques and Eruptions
- Scalp, Hair and Nails
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions
- Viral Skin Diseases
- Additional Skin Conditions