Caffeine: Why We Like It

Do we know how often we consume it?
Caffeine is naturally produced in the leaves, seeds and fruits of many plants. Commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate and a wide variety of over-the-counter medications. Let’s explore how Ayurveda could explain our daily inclination towards caffeine.

Why do so many enjoy it daily? Ayurveda sees it like this:

Some say they cannot wake up without it; this is usually a kapha-dominate person who enjoys the pick-me-up caffeine offers, without suffering from the usual jitters which plague other dosha-types. It is helpful for those who are slow to rise in the morning or like to sleep alot.

Some enjoy it for the flavor and don’t realize it is also a digestive irritant which flushes out the bowels; this may reinforce the desire for caffeine, as those who suffer from constipation, usually vata-dominate people, could benefit from this side effect. However, caffeine is also dehydrating and can easily give the jitters to the sensitive nervous system of a vata-type, which leads to insomnia and anxiety and is therefore not recommende for vata-types.

Some enjoy the daily ritual of making that fresh cup of coffee or tea, however caffeine is acidic and bitter, despite how much sugar is added. If consumed on an empty stomach before breakfast, it only adds “fuel to the fire,” making the pitta-personality even more impatient and agitated.

Here’s an idea of the amount of caffeine in:

* Coffee, depending upon preparation methods, can contain from 30-120 mg per 8 oz
* Soft Drinks vary from 37-71 mg per 12 oz
* Dark Chocolate, 1 oz = 20 mg
* Anacin, 2 tabs = 64 mg
* Excedrin, 2 tabs = 130 mg
* No-Doze, 1 tab = 200 mg

We recommend you identify your dosha-type and consider whether caffeine’s side-effects are beneficial for your type. If not, you can try organically produced products which will be better for you, or less acidic products like Kona Coffee, available at a local grocer near you.

Remember, what we eat and drink can taste good and be satisfying, but there is a more serious function to these daily habits, they serve to create energy and supply the body with all the tools (essential nutrients) it needs to support a healthy immune system and sustain life.

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