If you aren’t a morning person or need a jump start to the day, you may turn to a caffeine source to help wake up. Caffeine is a plant product that acts on your central nervous system as a stimulant. Your body can respond to caffeine in numerous ways, from an increased heart rate, body temperature and urine production to dizziness and appetite changes. Depending on the amount you consume, you might feel effects up to six hours after caffeine ingestion, notes the University of Michigan Health Services 1. With certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and heart disease, your doctor may recommend a caffeine-free diet.
Plenty to Eat
Caffeine is found in the leaves and seeds of plants or is added to foods 2. When you are looking for caffeine-free choices, you can enjoy lean meats, beans, whole-grain breads and rice, cereal, low-fat milk and yogurt, along with plenty of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Added fats eaten in moderation, such as butter, margarine or creamer, also contain no caffeine.
Candy and Flavoring for Thought
Sources of caffeine that you may not consider can be found in candy and flavored foods. Select caffeine-free varieties of these foods on a restricted diet -- for example, choose chocolate-free trail or snack mixes and ice cream and yogurt-covered raisins. Instead of coffee flavored foods, which may contain a limited amount of caffeine, opt for a vanilla- or fruit-flavored yogurt or milkshake.
While you should consume all snack foods in moderation, most chips, pretzels, popcorn, gummy snacks and regular jelly beans do not have caffeine in their ingredients. Certain jelly beans and gum may have added caffeine, so read the food labels to identify these items.
Monitoring the beverages you drink is important on a caffeine-free diet. Dietary sources of caffeine come from regular or even decaffeinated coffee, green and black tea, energy drinks, soft drinks and beverage additives. Brewed herbal teas -- either hot or cold -- are good beverage choices, as are water and seltzer. Check the label on energy drinks, soft drinks and flavored beverages. Unless they specifically state they're caffeine-free, many have added or natural sources of caffeine.
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