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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Caffeine

Is all caffeine the same or is it different depending on where it comes from? That is the question my husband posed to me the other day and I decided to find out. According to my research all caffeine is the same. It is a chemical compound that is mostly found in plants, but can be produced in a lab just as easily. The only difference is that some plants have more caffeine than others. I know, a lot of you are saying, "Well, duh, I knew that!" But did you know that green tea actually has more caffeine in it than regular coffee by dry weight? It does, but we get less out of it because we only steep it for a few minutes and the servings are usually much smaller.

The main reason we experience such a wide range of effects with the caffeine in different plants is because other plants can "also contain widely varying mixtures of other xanthine alkaloids, including the cardiac stimulants theophylline and theobromine, and other substances such as polyphenols that can form insoluble complexes with caffeine." (Balentine D. A) This could be why we are more addicted to the caffeine found in coffee and not so much the caffeine found in weaker teas.

Since this is a chemical, albeit a natural one, it is still considered a psychoactive drug and it would be best to not consume it. (Yes, I know that research has shown that it is harmless in moderation, even over a long period of time, but it is still a CHEMICAL that you are putting in your body!) If you are struggling with fatigue and rely on caffeine to get you through the day then you need to find out what is wrong with your body. If you are getting enough sleep, exercising and eating a whole foods diet you shouldn't need caffeine just to stay awake. If you are still tired then you should look into finding out why because another health problem could be the cause.

In my case, for instance, I am taking a liver detox supplement and by just doing that my energy has increased exponentially. I'm still tired by the end of the day like a normal person but I am finding it easier to wake up in the mornings and after I work out and eat a healthy breakfast I feel energized instead of wanting to go back to bed.



Source:
Balentine D. A., Harbowy M. E. and Graham H. N. (1998). G Spiller. ed. Tea: the Plant and its Manufacture; Chemistry and Consumption of the Beverage.
Via Wikipedia.

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