Foods and Drinks with Caffeine

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You can find caffeine in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of many plants, including tea leaves, cocoa beans, coffee beans, guarana, and kola nuts. These ingredients also add caffeine to foods and drinks.

Caffeine is a substance that’s naturally present in the leaves, seeds, and fruits of many plants, where it acts as an herbicide and insect repellant (1Trusted Source, 2).

It’s naturally found in tea leaves, cocoa beans, coffee beans, guarana, and kola nuts. In addition, people add it to a variety of foods and drinks, including ice cream and energy bars (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).

This article gives a primer on caffeine and lists 10 foods that are high in caffeine.

Caffeine is the most commonly consumed psychostimulant substance in the world. The term “psychostimulant” means that it increases the activity of the nervous system (1Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognizes caffeine as safe. Consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine per day has not been associated with adverse health effects in healthy adults (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).

One review study showed that 300 mg of caffeine per day in healthy pregnant women is safe, with limited data suggesting that 1.1 mg of caffeine per pound (2.5 mg per kg) of body weight in children and adolescents may be safe (2).

However, studies have observed mixed results, and some people may experience negative side effects at intakes of less than 400 mg per day (2, 4Trusted Source).

These side effects include heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, and increased blood pressure and heart rate (1Trusted Source).

Because manufacturers add caffeine to some foods and drinks to promote increased energy, alertness, and mood, you may be consuming more caffeine than you think (1Trusted Source, 2).

This is especially important to watch sabasport out for if you tend to experience negative side effects when you consume caffeine.

Here are 10 common foods and drinks that contain caffeine.

Coffee is a brewed beverage prepared from coffee beans, which are a natural source of caffeine (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).

Revered for its taste and aroma around the world, coffee is consumed for its stimulating effects, which increases energy levels, mood, and alertness (1Trusted Source, 2).

Whether coffee increases the risk of disease is controversial.

Some studies exploring the relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of disease have suggested an increased risk of heart disease, while others have shown potential health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

On average, an 8-ounce (240-mL) cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine. At this level, 4 cups of coffee per day will keep you within the safe limit of 400 mg of caffeine for healthy adults.

However, coffee products may contain very different amounts of caffeine. For example, Starbucks’ 16-ounce (475-mL) Grande Vanilla Latte provides 170 mg of caffeine, while a Grande Blonde Roast of the same volume provides 360 mg of caffeine (8, 9).

You should read the nutrition label to be aware of the amount of caffeine per serving of coffee.

Decaf coffee

In case you’re wondering, decaffeinated coffee still contains caffeine. However, it has reduced levels compared with regular coffee.

One cup (240 mL) of decaf coffee contains 1–50 mg of caffeine, depending on the brand and serving size. That’s less than half the amount of caffeine in a regular cup.

A 2014 review study found that along with drinking regular coffee, drinking decaf coffee may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes (7Trusted Source).

More rigorous research is needed.

Just like coffee beans, cocoa beans naturally contain caffeine (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source).

This means that all chocolate and foods flavored with chocolate contain some caffeine, but the amount of caffeine in the product depends on the percentage of cocoa it contains (10Trusted Source).

Here’s about how much caffeine you’ll find in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of different types of chocolate (10Trusted Source):

  • 100% cocoa chocolate: 240 mg of caffeine — the equivalent of 2.5 cups of regular coffee
  • Bittersweet chocolate (55% cocoa): 124 mg of caffeine
  • Milk chocolate (33% cocoa): 45 mg of caffeine — around the amount of caffeine in a cup of black tea

Cocoa also contains compounds like flavonols and methylxanthines, and some studies have investigated its potential as a functional food (11Trusted Source).

These compounds, including caffeine, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may provide health benefits (11Trusted Source).

That’s good news for chocolate lovers.

Native to West Africa, the kola nut is a staple food prized for its cultural symbolism and economic and health importance to all socioeconomic classes and religious groups (12Trusted Source).

It was once a main flavoring agent and source of caffeine in commercial colas like Coca-Cola. However, some major cola brands no longer use it (12Trusted Source).

The kola nut is the seed of the kola tree and a natural source of caffeine (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

You can eat it fresh or dried, and people use its extract as a food additive (12Trusted Source, 13).

Although the kola nut itself has potential health benefits, regularly drinking sugar-containing sodas is associated with weight gain and other negative health consequences (3Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source, 13, 14Trusted Source).

Another natural source of caffeine is green tea. It’s an especially popular drink in Asian countries (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).

Green tea contains amino acids like theanine, which studies have shown act on the hippocampus in the brain and exert stress-reducing effects in animals and humans (15Trusted Source).

A 2017 study further suggested that the combination of theanine and caffeine in green tea may improve brain function and cognition, as well as reduce anxiety, although more research is needed (16).

An 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of green tea provides about 30–50 mg of caffeine, which is about half of the caffeine content of a cup of coffee (17Trusted Source).

The caffeine content of green tea varies by the age of the leaf. Older leaves provide less caffeine than younger leaves (18Trusted Source).

Guarana is a plant that’s native to the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and known for its antioxidant and stimulant properties (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

Just like cocoa beans, the guarana plant contains chemicals called methylxanthines, and caffeine is one of these (20Trusted Source).

Studies have found consuming the guarana plant is associated with increased energy and protection against high blood pressure, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in older adults (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

Companies use guarana extract as a food additive in soft drinks, energy drinks, energy bars, and herbal dietary supplements (19Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

Yerba tea is a popular beverage in South America. It’s made from the dried, crushed leaves of the large-leafed Ilex paraguariensis tree (22Trusted Source).

Also known as Paraguay tea, yerba mate is a natural source of caffeine. Experts have praised it as a heart-friendly drink with numerous potential health benefits, which include its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).

Yerba mate is also a source of polyphenols, which are plant compounds that have health benefits in humans (22Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

The caffeine content of yerba mate varies depending on the brewing method, ranging from 20–180 mg per 8 ounces (240 mL).

Chewing gum is a soft, rubbery substance traditionally made from tree sap.

It’s not a natural source of caffeine, but manufacturers may include caffeine in their recipes. This has made chewing gum popular among some athletes and others looking for an energy boost.

Studies have shown that you absorb the caffeine in chewing gum much faster than caffeine in capsule form. This is possibly because the buccal mucosa cells of the inner cheek absorb it quickly (25, 26Trusted Source).

Caffeine enhances athletic performance. For this reason, caffeinated chewing gums, along with other sources of caffeine, are on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) banned substances list for athletes.

Chewing gum that contains caffeine may increase your alertness and attention span. Certain caffeinated versions, such as RunGum, provide 50 mg of caffeine in two pieces of gum (27Trusted Source).

Energy drinks are carbonated, sweetened beverages marketed for their ability to boost energy levels, mood, and alertness (28Trusted Source).

However, energy drinks are sold as food supplements, not regulated by the FDA, and exempt from rigorous testing (28Trusted Source).

Therefore, it may be difficult to determine the caffeine content of some brands. One study indicated that the caffeine content of energy drinks ranges from about 50–505 mg (28Trusted Source).

For example, the popular energy drink Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine per 8.4-ounce (250-mL) can.

In addition to caffeine, energy drinks contain taurine, an amino acid that is naturally found in the brain and possesses antioxidant properties (28Trusted Source).

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