Waking up in the morning is one of first of many struggles for the day. And for most of us, it is taking that big sip of our morning coffee that instantly brings us out of zombie mode. But do we often think about the coffee’s caffeine content — other than the fact it will give us a nice, welcome buzz.

While some caffeine certainly has its benefits, understanding the caffeine content of our coffee, energy drinks, coke, and even tea is our order of the day.

So, how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, tea, coke or energy drink — and what’s the recommended daily limit of caffeine?


What effect does caffeine have on our bodies?

Caffeine is what we call a central nervous system ‘stimulant’. In fact, it is the world’s most widely used stimulant. This means it acts to increase heart rate and blood flow, which temporarily make you feel more alert and energetic. Due to caffeine’s ability to boost energy levels, athletes and gym-goers often use caffeinated drinks to boost performance.

Caffeine can improve performance in some sports. This is due to the effect it has on the brain — caffeine is able to act as an adenosine receptor antagonist.


The benefits of (some) caffeine

Not all sources of caffeine are created equal (e.g. sugary coke and energy drinks). Coffee and tea, however, do provide some health benefits. Coffee is a rich source of antioxidants, which may help with insulin sensitivity and disease prevention.

There have been studies that drinking coffee is linked to a decreased risk of premature death, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. However, like everything else, it should be done in moderation.


How much caffeine can you have a day?

How much caffeine an individual should or should not consume varies a great deal and is affected by their gender, age, body weight, health conditions, and medications. Research shows that for a healthy adult, a moderate caffeine intake (of up to 400mg) poses no health risk, especially if we eat a balanced diet and enjoy a regular physical activity.

And remember there are other foods which contain caffeine, like chocolate or coffee-flavored treats such as ice cream and energy bars.


How much caffeine is in a cup?

Research show that up to 400mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee. A word of caution, although caffeine use may be safe for adults, it’s not a good idea for children.

“Heavy caffeine use can cause unpleasant side effects including increased anxiety, restlessness, headaches and difficulty sleeping.”

This is how much caffeine is in a cup (250ml) of black coffee, latte, energy drink, black tea, green tea and cola:

Latte: 113-280mg
Instant coffee with one teaspoon: 60-70mg
Black tea: 30-50mg
Green tea: 30-50mg
Energy drink: 80mg
Cola: 36-48mg