Ah, caffeine. It’s one of those love-hate relationships that — let’s face it — MOST of us have in our lives. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of reported healthy benefits to drinking coffee, including blood sugar stabilization, cancer prevention, and a reduced risk of stroke. And the same goes for tea, which tends to promote bone health. But when it comes to caffeine, there can *definitely* be too much of a good thing. Here’s what experts say about how much caffeine you can safely consume over the course of a week or so.
Daily Caffeine Recommendations
First of all, let’s talk about how much caffeine experts recommend you drink per day. We’re not talking about toxic thresholds here either — we’re talking about how much caffeine you can safely drink in a day while maintaining good overall health.
According to The Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, consuming about 400 mg of caffeine per day doesn’t have any harmful benefits to most peoples’ long-term health. For reference, that’s 3-5 cups of coffee per day (dependent upon coffee strength) and up to 10 or 11 cups of Earl Grey. That’s quite a lot of tea.
However, though you can probably safely drink that amount, it’s not necessarily recommended, due to the side effects of caffeine, which can include insomnia and stomach irritation.
When it comes down to it, caffeine metabolism (the rate at which caffeine is processed by your body) varies a lot by individual. Some people feel ah-mazing after drinking three hot cups of joe, while others get jittery or experience an upset stomach. Other factors matter too.
“If you already have heart disease or other chronic conditions, you may still need to curb your coffee consumption,” registered dietitian Cynthia Sass writes for Time. “For example, I sometimes recommend coffee to my healthy athlete clients, but others who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or other digestive disorders feel much better when they eliminate it, as do those who have anxiety disorders.”
So, if you tend to suffer from anxiety, heartburn, high blood pressure, heart problems, or a general feeling of jitteriness after you’ve had coffee, it’s best to keep your consumption low. Probably one or two cups of light-roast coffee per day, max.
The Role of Adrenal Fatigue
Finally, if you think you may be suffering from adrenal dysfunction (your adrenal glands produce a number of hormones to control blood sugar and blood pressure, among other things), you’ll probably want to curb your caffeine consumption. Drinking caffeine causes your body to release cortisol, a stress hormone that’s already out of whack in individuals with adrenal fatigue. If you suspect that your adrenals may be stressed, it’s crucial to dramatically reduce your caffeine consumption — or avoid it completely if necessary.
The Bottom Line
So, how much caffeine can you consume safely within a week? Technically 21-35 cups of coffee or 70-77 cups of black tea. But does that mean you *should*? Probably not… but if you’re otherwise healthy, don’t sweat enjoying that daily latte.
How much caffeine do you consume each day? Share with us @BritandCo!
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