Annually we observe National Caffeine Awareness Month in March to raise awareness regarding its effects, including benefits and risks, and ways consumers can modify consumption. Caffeine use is increasing worldwide and is the most researched food source with valuable studies showing that caffeine has been related to many physical and mental health issues and even our mortality.
Caffeine is believed to be the most frequently consumed psychostimulant and psychoactive drug in the world, ingested predominantly as coffee, though many other natural sources of caffeine-containing beverages and products exist and contain significant amounts of the substance, for example, tea, chocolate, cocoa beverages, soft drinks, and energy drinks. There are also synthetic caffeine substances added to products to promote arousal, alertness, energy, and elevated mood. Over the past decade, the introduction of new caffeine-containing food products, as well as changes in consumption patterns of the more traditional sources of caffeine, has increased scrutiny by health authorities and regulatory bodies about the overall consumption of caffeine and its potential cumulative effects on behavior and physiology.
Caffeine use is increasing worldwide and is part of the diet in all countries. The underlying motivations are mainly concentration and memory enhancement and physical performance improvement. Coffee and caffeine-containing products affect the cardiovascular system, with their positive inotropic and chronotropic effects, meaning, changes to muscles and heartrate, and the central nervous system, with their locomotor activity stimulation and anxiogenic-like effects, which cause anxiety. Thus, it is of interest to examine whether these effects could be detrimental for health and human behavior. Furthermore, caffeine abuse and dependence are becoming more and more common and can lead to caffeine intoxication, which puts individuals at risk for unhealthy life, both physically, mentally and emotionally, as well as premature and unnatural death.
The use of caffeine to stay awake and alert is a long-standing habit. Coffee is the most popular beverage after water and is consumed worldwide in daily amounts of approximately 1.6 billion cups, which is quite an impressive figure.
re: Journal of Neuropharmacology, Frontiers in Psychiatry, ChayaVeda Integrative Healing Arts
Average amount of caffeine per cup varies per brand and
what you consider a cup.
Generally 1 cup -8oz, but some shops serve 12, 16, or even larger cups
Average caffeine content per cup
Coffee: 95-128 mg (12-16 per ounce)
Starbucks: shot of expresso: 75 mg, 8 oz cup of medium roast: 155 mg
Shot of Expresso: 63 mg (1 ounce)
Black Tea: 47 mg
Green Tea: 35 mg
Hot Chocolate: 5 mg
Bang Energy: 300 mg
Red Bull: 111 mg
Ayurvedic Education for Coffee Drinkers
1. Know your Ayurvedic Constitution: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha
coffee if there are signs of heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion.
This can be signs of excess Pitta.
Avoid coffee if there are signs of dry skin and hair, anxiety, fatigue,
poor sleep patterns.
This can be signs of excess Vata.
4. Drink Coffee before 10:00 am
boiled milk and cardamom powder to counter the acidic qualities
(why Chai is a better choice, see Chaya’s recipe below)
6. Use organic coffee
Chaya’s Chai Tea Recipe
This recipe can be a great alternative to get your caffeine fix, all while reducing caffeine intake. Additionally, cardamom is a anti-inflammatory, alkaline-forming, digestive support.
2/3 cup water
1+1/3 cup milk
½ teaspoon either black or ¾ red tea
¼ tsp Chaya’s Traditional Chai Spice mix (or make your own, recipe below),
2-3 teaspoons turbinado or jaggery sugar to taste
Boil all the ingredients, simmer and strain. Chai is traditionally made with Indian black tea (available at Indian grocery as Red Label orange pekoe). You can vary the tea, substituting other black teas or make a more untraditional, caffeine free version with green, red or decaf black teas.
Variations: You may vary the amounts of milk and sugar according to taste and dosha. Increasing the milk and or sugar can provoke Kapha. If you use caffeinated tea, the cardamom will help neutralize the acidic effects of the caffeine for pitta.
Summer variation: add a splash of rose water for its
cooling, pitta reducing effects and good taste in summer.
Winter variation: add ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger root to add more heat, for vata and kapha reducing effects and good taste for winter.
2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1 Tablespoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ Tablespoons cardamom
In a small bowl, mix together all of the ingredients and store in a glass jar.