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Going Without Cola & Caffeine

While many Americans choose to kick-start themselves with coffee or cola, experts say health-conscious individuals can make more nutritious choices and avoid unwanted side effects. Soft drinks are the epitome of empty calories. They are filled with artificial flavorings, and up to 9 to 10 teaspoons of sugar in one 12 ounce can. Diet colas also contain artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame that may cause medical complications. Despite these negatives, many Americans cling to cola for its 40 to 72 milligram caffeine kick in each 12 ounce serving.

Similarly coffee — with about 83 milligrams of caffeine per cup — remains a beverage of choice for people seeking the artificial caffeine boost. Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the brain, influencing heart rate, respiration and other bodily functions. While the moderate use of coffee may offer pleasant side affects such as increased alertness during the morning ritual, experts have conducted studies linking caffeine with heart disease, cancer, birth defects and digestive orders.

Considering the side effects and possible risk, people should wean themselves from caffeine drinks by substituting decaffeinated drinks. To further improve health, increase water intake to at least 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses each day. For people who crave a sweet drink, a four-ounce glass of unsweetened juice that also contains important vitamins and minerals is a good alternative. Juices not only satisfy thirst but they also provide essential vitamins and minerals. However, it is important to remember that large quantities of juice can add up to excess intake of calories. Coffee drinkers, looking to cut down on their caffeine intake, can simply substitute the usual brew for a decaffeinated brand, which offers only three milligrams of caffeine per six ounce serving. For people who can't give up the warm beverage in the morning, try decaffeinated coffee or decaffeinated tea.

Understanding Caffeine

By pursuing alternatives, you can avoid some of the negative side effects associated with caffeine. Caffeine influences a variety of bodily functions in various ways. Caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream almost immediately. Drinkers first observe the effects within a half an hour, with the effects tapering off approximately three to five hours later. By stimulating the brain, caffeine increases the heart rate and respiration. Considering the influence on your central nervous system, caffeine is also responsible for stimulating the condition called the "coffee jitters."

Hazards of Caffeine

One of the most prevalent hazards of caffeine is the development of digestive disorders. Because caffeine stimulates the secretion of acid in the stomach, caffeine intake is not recommended for people who suffer from ulcers or other gastric distress. Coffee is notorious for stimulating heartburn because of its high content of tannic, acetic, nicotinic, formic and citric acids. These side effects, along with headaches and anxiety can result from heavy caffeine intake. To avoid these side effects, cautious consumers can buy coffee blends which contain lower acid content.

Therapy Services Associates
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2700 N Grimes
Hobbs, NM 88240
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Located inside Nor Lea Hospital
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Lovington, NM 88260
(575) 396-5227
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We serve Lea and Eddy Counties in New Mexico, as well as Yoakum and Gaines Counties in West Texas.