3 Reasons to Watch Our Caffeine Intake!

By Tabasom Eblaghie
Registered Clinical Counsellor

We all love our morning cup of coffee. It’s a source of relaxation for many, and a very stimulating way to start our day! However, here are 3 good reasons to cut back on caffeine if you have been feeling down or over-stimulated lately:

1) Caffeine stimulates our stress response: it increases heart rate, blood pressure, brings on tremors/jittery feeling, and may produce shallow breathing increasing feelings of irritability and anxiety. The LAST thing you need if you’ve been living with anxiety or anger is a more active stress response system!

2) It is an addictive drug. Heavy users can become psychologically dependent on it and need to consume more and more in order to get the same buzz. If enough is not consumed, then withdrawal symptoms can appear, including headaches, difficulty concentrating, irritability, anger and sleepiness.

3) If you’ve felt depressed lately, caffeine, by increasing anxiety, can also increase the symptoms of depression.

Caffeine is also hidden in many foods under the name “GUARANA”, like energy drinks, so be on the watch for it.

How much caffeine does it take to become addicted? The numbers vary, but on average if we consume 450mg or more per day, we’re well on our way. Researchers are now saying that if we are experiencing anxiety or depression 0-200mg of caffeine is the maximum amount we should be consuming until symptoms subside. What does that look like?

Home brewed coffee:
Drip: Medium (12 oz) 300mg – (p.s. a large mug can be 400-500mg!)
Instant: Medium (12 oz) 160 mg

Starbucks brewed coffee:
Tall (12oz) : 260 mg Grande (16oz): 330 mg Venti (20oz): 415mg

Starbucks Americano:
Tall: 150 mg Grande: 225mg Venti: 300mg

Starbucks Latte:
Tall: 75 mg Grande: 150mg Venti: 150 mg

Tim Horton’s:
Medium: 100mg Large: 140mg Extra Large: 200mg

Black Tea:
5 min steep: Medium (12oz) 140 mg
3 min steep: Medium (12oz) 80 mg

Green Tea:
Small (8 oz): 25 mg

Regular or Diet Cola:
One can: 45 mg

Hot cocoa:
Small (8 oz) 15 mg

If you’re drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages and would like to reduce, start slowly. Go from 6 cups down to 5, 4, and gradually work your way down to none. Stay at each level for about five to six days to allow your body to adjust. Replace coffee with as much herbal tea as you’d like. You may find that replacing coffee with green tea in the morning will eventually help you feel more energized overall!