New Castle News

September 19, 2013

Lori Brothers: Choose your caffeine intake wisely

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — In my investigations about the good and bad of caffeine I found two quotes, authors unknown, that I found highly amusing.

“Herbal tea tastes so much better when it’s coffee,” and “Coffee is not my cup of tea.”

We all have our opinions, and preferences, but it turns out that coffee and teas are far better than the other popular caffeine-laden options.

The real “hype” in our culture right now is just how much caffeine is consumed. Four out of five Americans consume caffeine daily, in some form.

Mayo Clinic researchers state, “For most healthy adults, moderate doses of caffeine — 200 to 300 milligrams (mg), or about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day — aren’t harmful.” Exceptions to this statement suggest that some individuals are adversely reactive, experiencing insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, fast heartbeat or muscles tremors and should refrain from ingesting caffeine.

Caffeine is absorbed within 45 minutes and its effects wear off after three hours. Some of the known physiological effects of caffeine on the body include a temporary rise in blood pressure, dehydration, reduction in bone density which contributes to osteoporosis, and an increased activity in the central nervous system causing rapid heart rate, pupils to dilate, muscle tension, increased alertness, excitement and insomnia.

Dr. Dean Ornish’s research has documented that removing caffeine (with the exception of green tea) from your diet can play a leading role in helping the body to heal. Caffeine’s stimulating effects on the nervous system undermine the body and its systems ability to recover optimum functions.

If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease or cancer, you may consider reducing or eliminating caffeine. Since my digestion says “no” to coffee, I follow this advice and stick to green and herbal teas.

Here is a look at the caffeine content in 8 ounces of common beverages:

Impulse — 88 mg

Red Bull — 80 mg

Coca-Cola — 48.75 mg

Diet Coke — 48 mg

Diet Coke Caffeine-Free — 2 mg

Pepsi — 40 mg

Diet Pepsi — 44 mg

Pepsi Max — 44 mg

Coffee — 135 mg

Decaf Coffee — 5 mg

Green Tea — 24 to 40 mg

Black tea — 14 to 61 mg

Decaf Black tea — 0 to12 mg

Meanwhile, there are 207 mg of caffeine in just 2 ounces of 5 Hour Energy Drink. According to LiveStrong, “Evidence is beginning to emerge that energy drinks may be harmful to some members of our community. It may be best to avoid giving these drinks to children under age 10 years. With older children and young people, watch closely the amount of energy drinks they consume as well as any effects on their mood or behavior.”

If you are choosing to drink caffeinated beverages, the upside to remember is that coffee, and green, black, red and white teas all have antioxidants that fight free radicals that provide protection from cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Sugary colas and energy drinks don’t deliver the same benefits. I urge you to choose your caffeine intake wisely.

Roasted Acorn Squash



Cook the barley according to the package directions. Set aside.

Mix diced apples, basil, walnuts, maple syrup and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Add in the barley.

Cut the squash in half across the middle and remove the seeds. Cut the ends off of each half so it will sit flat

Spray baking sheet or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Also, lightly spray inside of each squash half. Fill each cavity with the stuffing mix. Cover with foil.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned.

Boil 1/2 cup of apple juice until it becomes syrupy. Drizzle over the top of the squash before serving.