Nowadays, caffeine is the most popular energy booster available to you in many forms like drinks, foods, or supplements. There is no doubt that coffee is an everlasting trend, with more than 1 billion coffee lovers globally and almost 1,5 billion cups consumed daily. Then how can you get your caffeine if you're not fond of coffee or want to reduce its consumption due to some health disorders?
However, coffee isn't the only choice to power up and get rid of sleepiness. Read on to learn the best caffeine sources aside from coffee and how you can get the most out of taking them.
How does caffeine affect your health and energy?
In a nutshell, caffeine is a stimulant that helps your body deliver messages to the brain faster. Meanwhile, it enhances the circulation of adrenaline and cortisol hormones — that's why you may feel yourself more energized, focused, and alert after taking it.
A daily dose of caffeine that is safe for you is 400 mg which equals four cups of coffee or ten glasses of cola. But what about different coffee drinks — how much caffeine can you find in each of them? One 44 ml or 1,5 oz shot of espresso contains 77 g of caffeine, while a big cup of latte (473 ml or 16 oz) has 154 mg. Besides, a regular instant coffee cup (236 ml or 8 oz) includes only 57 mg of caffeine.
Your body absorbs it quickly so that you will experience the caffeine effect in less than 30 minutes. Still, its effect may depend on your body mass and innate caffeine susceptibility. If you take caffeine daily, you may need to consume a higher dose to feel the desired energy boost.
Perks of taking caffeine
The primary reason why people are taking caffeine is that it helps overcome sleepiness and get an instant energy burst. Simply said, it helps you turn on your "productivity mode." But what are other caffeine effects that may benefit your efficiency and energy?
Caffeine boosts your stamina during workouts
If you're looking for a solution to help you work out more effectively and for a longer time, caffeine may become your remedy. A study says sportspeople who consume caffeine before workouts have 60% more glycogen in muscles than those who don't take it. And since muscles use glycogen as their primary energy source, you'll be able to do more exercises with less fatigue.
Caffeine supports memory
You can also take caffeine to promote your memory health. As for Johns Hopkins University survey, consuming a 200-mg caffeine supplement after studying will help you memorize information better and create long-term memories. It can be beneficial to develop new skills and keep everything in mind during a long project.
Caffeine promotes your heart health
When taken within the permissible dose, caffeine can be a remedy to support your heart. German scientists claim that taking 400mg of caffeine daily will protect your heart muscle cells from destruction and promote their function.
Caffeine enhances your brain performance
It's not for nothing that we drink coffee so often during the workday. As for the research, caffeine can boost your cognitive skills like attention, vigilance, and reaction time. It will be especially relevant if you're frequently driving or if your job demands a rapid reaction from you.
Caffeine improves your mood
Surprisingly, caffeine may also be a natural antidepressant. Studies claim caffeine enhances the release of dopamine hormone, which causes euphoria and makes you more joyful. By taking caffeine, you also reduce the risks of getting depression by 20%.
So now it's clear that caffeine may help you with numerous health and energy issues. But what can you take aside from coffee to get your daily caffeine dose?
Caffeine sources aside from coffee
When you want to power up yourself in the morning, you will definitely reach for your coffee. Suppose your body tolerates coffee not so well. In that case, there are a few drinks that may replace it without sacrificing the caffeine intake. Let's look at them:
Most of us consider tea a light drink that is great with some dessert or warm-up on a cold rainy day. And few of us know that tea is also a stimulating drink that may boost your energy level and deliver your caffeine dose.
One teacup contains less caffeine than a cup of coffee — black tea contains 47 mg of caffeine compared to 95 mg that you can find in coffee. Still, you can drink more of it because your body absorbs caffeine from it slowlier. Plus, it doesn't give you a jittery rush with a higher heart rate and blood pressure.
Note that strongly brewed tea contains more caffeine, while herbal teas don't include it at all. So if you want to power up by drinking tea, brew loose black tea as green teas and tea bags contain less caffeine.
This Japanese green tea is a trending drink among people with a healthy lifestyle and athletes. It has almost as much caffeine as a coffee cup with 70 mg and ten times more antioxidants than a green tea. Besides, matcha delivers a gentle energy boost, calms your mind, and doesn't end with the crush. And if you don't get enough time to prepare a perfect coffee, preparing matcha will take you just a few minutes.
Primarily, people drink soda because it's tasty, sugary, and at some point, refreshing. But actually, soda drinks may also contain caffeine and boost your energy. For example, Coke's cane has 34mg of caffeine while diet Coke is richer in caffeine, having 46 mg.
Still, consuming too many soft drinks is bad for your waistline and blood sugar level — that's why you should take sugar-free sodas. It won't give you an instant energy burst but may help power up your brain and body a bit.
Hot cocoa and chocolate
If coffee and soft drinks are not an option for you, try drinking hot cocoa to increase your energy level. Although it contains less caffeine — for instance, Starbucks hot chocolate has only 25 mg of it. Still, it delivers all caffeine benefits like supporting your heart, blood flow, and cognitive function. So the low caffeine level is offset by solid health perks.
You may not even know, but caffeine is also present in many foods you consume daily. It's worth knowing them to optimize your caffeine intake.
Yeah, this tasty treat also contains caffeine since it's made from cocoa beans. There is 12 mg of caffeine in the 1-ounce (28 g) dark chocolate serving. Aside from boosting your energy, chocolate also maintains your blood flow, lowers blood pressure, and reduces your risks of getting diabetes.
Plus, chocolate releases endorphins in your body, elevating your mood and promoting your brain performance. It may not be the best caffeine source to stay awake for the whole night, but it still can cheer you up in the middle of a hard day.
Have you ever tried the ice cream with cappuccino flavor? Then you should know it contains caffeine too, though, in small doses. Half a cup of coffee-flavored ice cream contains from 15 to 29 mg of caffeine. That means you should eat a lot to reach your maximum caffeine daily dose. But still, if you want to eat an energizing treat, a coffee-flavored ice cream will be an outstanding choice.
Their name is fully justified by the effect that these bars have on your body. Most energy bars, especially those with coffee flavors, contain caffeine. Although its amount may vary, check the nutritional value if you don't want to exceed your daily caffeine dose.
Still, it's one of the most convenient foods to charge you since energy bars often contain green tea caffeine with a gentle effect on your heart and brain. And the best part of it — you can grab it wherever you are without cooking anything!
Suppose you're not feeling like taking extra calories but still want to become more energized. In that case, caffeine supplements are what you're looking for. They allow you to fully control the dosage, regulate your intake, and get an instant energy burst right when you need it.
This plant has the highest caffeine content among all other botanicals — up to 5.8%, while coffee has just 2%. That's why guarana supplements are a top remedy to fight sleepiness and liven up. Popular guarana tablets contain almost 200 mg of caffeine per serving, so take them if you don't drink too much coffee or cocoa. However, by taking guarana, you'll face a long-lasting energy burst, may clear your mind, and exercise better.
For those who don't like coffee and care about their waistline, plain caffeine supplements may be an optimal choice for boosting energy. Plus, it’s extremely convenient if you’re following a diet or didn’t want to consume extra calories.
One pill usually contains from 100 to 200 mg of caffeine, so it's safe to take only a few of them frequently. Besides increasing your stamina and allowing you to perform better, taking caffeine tablets can reduce headaches and migraines. Thus, you'll be able to live your day to the fullest with a high productivity level.
Tips on how to optimize your caffeine intake
It's not enough to know the foods and drinks rich in caffeine — you should take them correctly and with the proper timings to achieve maximum effect. Our easy-to-follow tips will help you take caffeine as a pro, stay on top of your performance, and be energized even during the busiest days.
- Don't take your caffeine right after waking up. Early in the morning, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that keeps you energized and awake. That's why caffeine won't have a significant effect on your energy. It will make more sense to consume it when your cortisol level drops. Let's say, if you wake up at 7 am, the perfect timing for caffeine will be 10 am.
- Let caffeine dissolve before taking more. Many people habitually take a cup of coffee on every break and with every meal. Still, you should know that caffeine's half-life is six hours, that's why you should consume it intermittently. Otherwise, you'll only overload your body with excessive doses without getting any effect. Plus, it means that you shouldn't take caffeine six hours before going to bed to avoid insomnia and sleep disturbance.
- Consume caffeine before your energy crash. When your energy level drops and you start yawning, then it's already too late. Coffee won't revive your dead productivity. So take your caffeine before facing tiredness — define the time when you start feeling exhaustion (for most of us, it's an after-lunch period). And consume your caffeine before that time to get ahead of fatigue.
- Make pauses. Be careful as caffeine may cause addiction. Its regular intake will make you crave a more significant dose to boost your energy. Making pauses in consumption may help you reset your receptors and get back to a regular caffeine routine. Plus, you won't get bored by coffee taste if you make frequent pauses in taking it.
- Don't mix different caffeine sources. Eating your energy bar and washing it down with coffee wouldn't be a great idea. Too much caffeine at once may cause headaches, increase your heartbeat and muscle tremors. Divide its intake through the day to get all energy benefits without side effects.
- Don't take caffeine with alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol increase both your heart rate and blood pressure, so if you take them together, your heart will have a tough time until your body dissolves alcohol. Besides, taking caffeine with alcohol may disrupt your sleeping pattern, keep you awake for a longer time, and even make you drinking more. Not the best pair, definitely.
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