Caffeine is a chemical with stimulant properties that occurs naturally and in varying quantities in the leaves, beans and fruit of a number of plants. Because caffeine is prevalent in so many everyday foods and drinks, it is one of the most commonly used drugs; more than 90% of Americans ingest caffeine in one way or another on a regular basis! When we think about caffeine, coffee is probably the substance that springs to mind. It’s an everyday beverage that millions of us drink every day. However, caffeine can be found in a large number of foods and drinks, so it might be surprising to learn that you may be consuming more caffeine than you thought.
Energy Water and Drinks
Guarana, a Brazilian plant, contains perhaps the highest concentration of caffeine of any plant. It is an effective energy booster and as a result, drink manufacturers have seized it, harnessed it and used it to make a number of energy drinks. Energy water and even a number of soft drinks now use guarana and other caffeine-rich plants in their ingredients. VitaminWater TM is an example of such a drink.
The first drink that springs to mind when caffeine is mentioned in relation to soda, is cola. Even common sodas such as Mountain Dew, Sunkist and even Cream Soda contain up to 56mg of caffeine. Because kola nuts contain high levels of caffeine and are used to make sodas, that extra energy boost you’re experiencing could be more from that can of Tab, than the latte you picked up this morning!
Caffeine is found naturally in cocoa beans, so any chocolate that you eat will give you a little jolt of energy. However, the darker the chocolate, the more cocoa content and the more caffeine it contains, which means that chowing down on a Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar can give you as much energy as drinking a can of Coke would.
Tea contains more caffeine than coffee. The reason that a typical serving of tea contains less than coffee is because tea is brewed weaker than coffee. Nevertheless, green tea, iced tea, black tea and even Chai Tea Lattes all contain enough caffeine to make a difference. If you’d prefer a tea that won’t give you as much of a boost, try lapsang souchong, which contains a lot less caffeine than other varieties.
Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt
Do you enjoy digging into a liter of Ben & Jerry’s? If you like to partake in any coffee or chocolate flavored ice cream or frozen yogurt, then you can be sure that you’re ingesting a small amount of caffeine.
There are many medicines and products that contain caffeine. Weight loss pills, pain medication, cold and flu medicines, hay fever medication and breath fresheners all contain a dosage of caffeine. Some medications are available in non-drowsy forms, meaning that they will contain caffeine.