Many of us like to start our day with a piping hot cuppa for that instant kick. But, it must be known that while caffeine present in beverages like tea and coffee acts as a natural stimulant that boosts mood and brain function when taken in the recommended amount, an excess can lead to various health-related problems.
“Excess caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness, nausea, and increased heart rate. Also, one must avoid it during the pregnancy,” said Dr Jyoti Khanijoh, Head – Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Department, Max Super Speciality Hospital.
“According to various studies, the side effect of caffeine may also include general toxicity, and is likely to affect the heart, bone, reproduction, and overall development,” she added.
So, how much caffeine should one consume?
Dr Jyoti suggested consuming 200 mg-400 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee.
Are there any substitutes?
According to lifestyle nutritionist Smitha Shetty, while there can be no real substitutes for caffeine, one can balance the consumption by “eating foods that help keep you feeling energetic throughout the day. Also, exercising regularly will lead to a release of dopamine and promote sleep, which will make you feel fresh. You can also try picking up a hobby,” she added.
However, if you are looking to quit caffeine, “start with tapering caffeine consumption and gradually replace it with drinks like cumin-coriander tea, lemongrass tea, decaf herbal chai, and carob (closest substitute of chocolate),” Smitha suggested.