Wellness Wednesday…Caffeine, Are YOU Getting Too Much?


Did you know that nearly 90% of adults in the U.S. consume caffeine every day? This might not surprise you, as you can’t imagine beginning your day without your cup of coffee. Moderate amounts can actually provide some benefits. Researchers found that consuming about 200 mg, or two cups of coffee, can make you more alert, fend off headaches, and even help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

The problems can arise when you take in more than 500 mg per day. This can lead to addiction, anxiety, irritability, and even hallucinations and death. I recall hearing about a teenager in Ohio a few years ago who sadly passed away as a result of a caffeine overdose. Although this is rare, it is possible. I have personally experienced some very negative side effects as a result of consuming too much caffeine, and I ended up completely cutting it out of my diet about a year and a half ago. As you can imagine, this topic is very important to me.

Here are some tips so you can safely enjoy your caffeine routine.


What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in foods and drinks like coffee, tea, and even chocolate. It’s also added to other items like soda, energy drinks, supplements, and some over-the-counter medicines, like Excederin Migraine. Although it’s natural and completely legal, caffeine is a stimulant drug. It’s a chemical that affects the central nervous system. That’s kind of scary. Don’t you think?

f.gifHigh intake of caffeine can:

  • Make you feel jittery and shaky
  • Increase your heart rate
  • Raise your blood pressure
  • Cause sleep problems
  • Upset your stomach


How Much Caffeine are YOU Consuming?

Take a look at some common sources of caffeine. How do you add up?

  • 10 Hour Energy Shot: 422 milligrams
  • McDonald’s 16-ounce Ice Coffee: 200 milligrams
  • McDonald’s 16-ounce Ice Tea: 100 milligrams
  • Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper (or Diet Varieties) 12 ounce: 45 milligrams
  • Mountain Dew Soda 12 ounce: 55 milligrams
  • 5 Hour Energy Shot: 200 milligramswpc dec 2013 5b caffeine
  • ACE Energy Drink: 160 milligrams
  • AMP Energy Drink: 160 milligrams
  • Monster Energy Drink: 160 milligrams
  • Average Latte: 150 milligrams
  • Lipton Black Tea: 55 milligrams
  • Matcha Green Tea: 25–70 milligrams
  • Shot of Espresso 2 ounce: 150 milligrams
  • Brewed Coffee 12 ounce: 100+ milligrams*
  • Starbucks Bottled Frappachino: 90 milligrams
  • Starbucks 16 ounce Iced Espresso or Cappuccino: 225 milligrams
  • Starbucks 16 ounce Decaf Coffee: 25 milligrams
  • Chai Tea: 47 milligrams
  • Black Tea: 42 milligrams
  • Green Tea: 25 milligrams
  • White, Jasmine, Oolong Tea: 25 milligrams
  • Herbal Tea: 0 milligrams
  • Milk Chocolate Bar 1.6 ounce: 9 milligrams

*Amount varies depending on amount of grounds, brewing method, etc.


How Much Caffeine is Too Much?

Recent guidelines recommend healthy adults are safe to consume up to about 400 mg of caffeine each day. Each person’s body makeup is unique and each caffeine product is different. Because of this, the effects of caffeine can vary greatly.

Some groups of people need to be particularly careful. It’s no surprise that pregnant women and children need to lower their caffeine intake. But, you might be surprised to know that people with heart conditions, diabetes, anxiety, and those taking certain medications can be highly sensitive to its effects. Be careful if you’re taking the following medications, and talk with your doctor about possible unwanted interactions and side effects.50980b2539178

  • Ephedrine:  Mixing caffeine with this medication, which is used in decongestants, might increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke or seizure.


  • Theophylline (Theo-24, Elixophyllin, others):  This medication, used to open up bronchial airways, tends to have some caffeine-like effects.  Taking it with caffeine might increase the adverse effects of caffeine, such as nausea and heart palpitations.


  • Echinacea:  This herbal supplement, which is sometimes used to prevent colds or other infections, may increase the concentration of caffeine in your blood and may increase caffeine’s unpleasant effects.


How to Lower YOUR Caffeine Intake

water-and-sodaHow much caffeine do you get a day? Were you surprised to see the numbers above? If you’re consuming too much caffeine, it’s best to decrease your consumption slowly over several days. A sudden change can cause symptoms like bad headaches or feeling tired or irritable. Try mixing regular coffee with decaf or make the switch to tea. Consider swapping out one soda for a glass of water. (This might help you drop a few pounds too!) Also, make sure to get plenty of rest so that your body will not feel as tired. This may help you be less tempted to drink caffeinated beverages throughout the day.


Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!





Wellness Wednesday…5 Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening




As they say, “April showers bring May flowers!” If you live in Florida, you’re probably thinking that we haven’t had many showers this April. It has been a very dry month. For the rest of you, though, you might be saying a different story. And, with the weather starting to get warmer up north, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your garden this year. While this may be one of your favorite hobbies, you’ll love it even more when I share these 5 surprising health benefits of gardening.


Gardening Relieves Stress




Based on a study conducted by the Wageningen University and Research Center, gardening could play a part in reducing stress levels. They found that gardening reduced the level of cortisol, which is the stress hormone!

Gardening Boosts Your Immune System


Human hand carrying plug plant in hand

If you do any gardening at all, you know that soil comes with plenty of germs and bacteria. I know what you’re thinking…that does not sound like something you want on your hands. Believe it or not, this exposure to microorganisms, especially for young children, could help to increase your immunity against diseases.


Gardening’s a Great Workout


Gardening may not seem like hard work until you try it. The amount of exertion really depends on the size of the garden. For instance, if you have to mow, aerate, or shovel, you’ll get a great workout. And, pruning can increase the strength in your upper body. One study actually found that 3 hours of moderate gardening could equal 1 hour in the gym!


Gardening Makes You Happy


If you’re feeling blue, go play in the dirt! Dirt contains a natural antidepressant called Mycobacterium vaccae. According to research conducted by Bristol University and University College London, this particular antidepressant microbe causes cytokine levels to increase, which in turn boosts the production of serotonin.


Gardening Stimulates Your Brain


Gardening is an activity that includes a bit of everything. It includes physical exercise, social interactions, cognitive learning, and more. As reported on CNN, two studies have found that gardening could have a positive influence in reducing the risk of dementia for people in their 60s and 70s!



Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!



Wellness Wednesday…Healthy Easter Snacks for YOUR Grandkids


Are you going to be spending the Easter holiday with your grandkids this year?  If you answered YES, you’re probably thinking of all the ways you’re going to spoil them…filling their baskets with chocolate bunnies, peeps, jellybeans, and more.  The options are endless.  Remember, though, too many sugar-filled snacks will inevitably take a toll on your grandchildren’s health.  And, when you really sit down and think about it, their health is the MOST important thing in the world.

That doesn’t mean Easter can’t be fun this year.  I’ve searched the web for fun, festive, and oh so HEALTHY snacks.  I found some super cute ideas that I even want to try. 

Healthy Fruit and Vegetable Bunny Snack

This is great for an after school or post egg hunt snack!  You can use apples, strawberries, blueberries, cheese cut in circles, carrots, cucumber, and mini almonds, but feel free to get creative with what you have on hand!  You can even pre-cut everything and have your grandkids put together their own bunny!  



Egg Carton Lunch Snacks

This is one of the best ideas I came across when looking for cool Easter snack ideas.  What makes this idea so cool is you can completely customize it to suit your grandchild’s preferences.  Choose his or her favorite snacks (grapes, fish crackers, cheese etc) and maybe throw in one sugary treat (like fruit snacks or mini cookies) to make it a little more fun!



Fruit and Peep Kabobs

This snack is perfect for those of you with multiple children running around during Easter.  You can use any diced or small fruit for the cabobs (melons and cantaloupes work well), grapes and then one little sweet treat of a marshmallow Peep.  This festive fruit/veggie tray will be a huge hit with your kids this year!



Cute Deviled Egg Chicks 

We LOVE deviled eggs at Easter time, and I think Kirt would even like this one!  These particular guys use pimento-stuffed olive slices for the eyes and little pieces of carrot for the feet and beaks.  Everyone will love these healthy and fun snacks this Easter weekend!



Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!



Wellness Wednesday…Parkinson’s Awareness Month



For the fourth straight year, Congress has officially declared April Parkinson’s Awareness Month. In this regard, let’s talk about Parkinson’s Disease (PD).   I’ve been learning a lot more about the condition over the past year, and Kirt and I even attended a Parkinson’s Symposium this past January in Sarasota. I was shocked when over 800 people attended the event. I had no idea so many people were affected by the disease!



Looking at the statistics on PD, it turns out that the disorder affects more people than Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis combined. Some other interesting facts about Parkinson’s include:

  • Parkinson’s affects up to 1 million people in the U.S.
  • Doctors diagnose as many as 60,000 new cases each year
  • Parkinson’s strikes 50 percent more men than women
  • The average age of onset is 60
  • Early onset PD, beginning before age 50. accounts for 5-10 percent of cases
  • 15-25 percent of people with Parkinson’s have a relative with the disease
  • Risk for people related to someone with Parkinson’s increases 2-5 percent
  • Symptoms of Parkinson’s may progress over a period longer than 20 years


Misconception: PD Only Affects Movement

For most of us who do not have Parkinson’s, we believe that PD only causes movement-related (motor) symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, and slowness.

parkinsonsIn Reality:  Many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are unrelated to movement. Nonmotor (“invisible”) symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are common, and may affect everyday life more than the more obvious movement difficulties. These symptoms may include impaired sense of smell, sleep disorders, cognitive symptoms, constipation, bladder symptoms, sweating, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, pain, tingling, lightheadedness, anxiety and depression.

For More Information

  • What is Parkinson’s disease?
  • What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s
  • What causes Parkinson’s?
  • Where can I find support?

If you’re looking to answer these questions or more, check out some of these great resources.





Stay happy, healthy, and N motion, AND REMEMBER…age is just a number!