Caffeine and "Decaf"
Many health-conscious people insist on "decaf." But knowledgeable gardeners will tell you not to pour decaffeinated coffee or tea onto your plants and not to use decaffeinated grounds or tea bags. Why? Because the decaffeination process uses formaldehyde, and there's a residual in the resulting beverage. Thus, you can generally refer to "decaffeinated" beverages as "formaldehyde-enriched."
Formaldehyde is not a health food. It's a poison. It kills plants, and it does a great deal of damage inside the human body. So, you don't want to be drinking it. Period.
Please note that sodas--whether caffeinated or not--are too toxic for human consumption. They aren't just osteoporosis in a can, they are also esophageal cancer in a can. If you don't know the facts about sodas, read this article. Doing so may be the best use you've ever made of 5 minutes. Yeah, we know Pepsi will never sponsor an ad on this site. But your health is more important to us.
There are two alternatives to "decaf," and those are non-decaffeinated and naturally decaffeinated.
Let's look at that latter one, first. There's no official definition for "naturally decaffeinated," so approach this label with care. Sometimes, it means next to nothing--it's just a gimmick. It usually means the method did not involve formaldehyde or other harsh chemicals. You will need to contact the company that produces the product to know for sure. The first companies to come out with this label were sincere about it. But others have copied the message without implementing the intent.
Now, let's turn to caffeine. This is a stimulant, and it can be very useful. Caffeine in itself is not bad. You must recognize it for what it is, though. While it has many benefits, it's not 100% benign. All things have a cost associated with them, and caffeine is no exception.
Every individual handles caffeine differently. For some people, a single cup of coffee in the morning will give them the jitters and have them up all night. Other people can down 5 cups and be perfectly calm. If you don't normally drink caffeinated beverages, it's very likely you won't handle caffeine well. Introduce this substance to your diet carefully, not all at once.
More about caffeine, below
Huge caffeine caution
When you hear a health expert say, "Caffeine won't hurt you," there are three underlying assumption that person is making:
On this last point, it's critical to understand something. The amount of caffeine in beverages such as coffee and tea is well within a healthy person's ability to handle, assuming the first two assumptions are met and you're consuming "normal" quantities and not just before bedtime.
But several products, marketed mostly at young people, contain outsized doses of caffeine. That much caffeine causes all sorts of problems, including profound adrenal dysfunction. If you "need" that much caffeine so you can concentrate or "have energy," you have other problems. Self-medicating with overdoses of caffeine is masking those problems. Do not take this self-injuring approach. Do not fool yourself into believing that you know what you're doing or have the situation under control.
If you are in this situation, the most likely problem is you aren't getting enough sleep. But you might have any of a number of causes from malnutrition to a brain tumor. See a doctor and then get a second opinion and a third opinion until you can formulate a sensible, drug-free plan to get yourself off this particular treadmill.
This article just scratches the surface. Remember, caffeine is not a villain. It is a useful drug that can be easily abused. It's a stimulant, and overstimulating--or stimulating at the wrong time--is dangerous. Be sure you are aware of all the stimulants you are taking along with caffeine. And that includes emotional stimulants such as extreme sports, watching scary movies, or dealing with the IRS.
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