Caffeine is from the Italian word cafée which means coffee is made naturally by about 60 plants such as tea leaves, kola nuts, cacao, guarana berries, coffee leaves and beans. Caffeine is considered a pesticide in plants that’s why insects that eat plants that have caffeine either become disabled or die. Caffeine is a mild stimulant that is widely used to increase mental alertness and relieve fatigue temporarily. It has no nutrition value. It is also added to drugs such as antihistamine to counter the drowsiness, to migraine remedies and headache remedies to improve their painkilling effects that these drugs cause. With medical supervision, premature infants are given a prescription drug called citrated caffeine for breathing problems.
Caffeine in Coffee and Tea
Coffee was from the Middle East and introduce to Europe in the 17th century. By then, it quickly became a well loved drink. During the 1600’s coffee houses materialized in London. In 1819, a German chemist purified caffeine. Nowadays, it is naturally found in coffee, tea and even in chocolates. Caffeine is also widely sold as a dietary supplement to enhance physical and mental functioning.
Caffeine content varies in coffees and teas. It differs depending on how the beverage is prepared and how the plants are grown. Below are the caffeine content of some common products:
- Caffeine tablet, 1: 200 mg
- SoBe No Dread energy drink, 8 oz: 80 mg
- Diet Coke: 1 can (12 oz) 45 mg
- Barq’s Root Beer: 1 can (12 oz): 22 mg
- Pepsi Cola, 1 can (12 oz): 37 mg
- Coca-Cola Classic, 1 can (12 oz): 34 mg
- 7-Up, 1 can (12 ounces): 0 mg
- Sprite, diet or regular: 1 can (12 oz) 0 mg
- Mountain Dew, 1 can (12 oz): 55 mg
- Red Bull energy drink, 8.5 oz: 80 mg
- Green tea, brewed, 8 oz: 15 mg
- Decaffeinated tea, 8 oz: 4 mg
- Brewed Black Tea, 8 oz: 50 mg
- Excedrin headache tablet, 1: 65 mg
- Brewed coffee 8 oz: 135 mg
- Decaffeinated coffee, 8 oz: 5 mg
- Espresso coffee, 1 oz: 40 mg
- Cocaine energy drink, 8.5 oz: 280 mg
- Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate, 1 bar (1.5 oz): 31 mg
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, 1 bar (1.5 oz): 10 mg
Caffeine also has effects on the body such as:
- It temporarily increases blood pressure.
- It passes into breast milk.
- It increases heart rate.
- It releases fatty acids in the body for energy use.
- It relaxes smooth muscle cells in the airways.
- It releases glycerol in the body for energy use.
- It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
- It changes the level of neurotransmitters in the brain.
- It increases urine output (a diuretic).