Legend has it that coffee was first consumed by a priest in an Arabian convent - not to savor its taste and aroma, but so he could stay up and pray all night. Today, the coffee pot is an indispensible fixture and the office, and in Australia, cappuccino is the second most popular drink.

The effects of caffeine are many and varied. Within minutes of being ingested, the caffeine stimulates adrenal glands to release hormones which energise the central nervous system, and the brain's cortex - your intellectual center. Small wonder, that Coca-Cola (which contained caffeine) was first marketed as an "intellectual beverage" and "brain tonic".

Just 100 milligrams of caffeine, about the amount in a strong cup of coffee, has been found to substantially increase wakefulness and clarity of mind, as measured by test scores. Thoughts may come more easily for a while, decision time may be shortened, and some people find they can better focus their attention on a task. Finally, drinkers of tea, coffee, and cola can temporarily stave off fatigue.

What goes up must come down

Heavy caffeine use is the most common cause of fatigue and found typically in people who drink three or more cups of coffee or tea each day.

Caffeine is addictive and withdrawal symptoms can be a painful experience: headaches, irritability, insomnia, light-headedness, nausea, stomach upsets and diarrhea. An early warning sign of caffeine abuse is a period of dizziness when a person first stands up after lying down. Other symptoms are more subjective: Insufficient energy in the morning even though you slept well, fatigue in the afternoon and diminished concentration.

The joy of cappuccino!

It's easy to read about the effects of caffeine abuse, but I will gladly admit that I love cappuccino!. My morning cappuccino I purchase at Barista's gives me a great start to the day and I believe it contributes to my creative thinking. Drinking cappuccino in a coffee shop is a very relaxing thing for me, particularly if I am doing some writing, or jotting down notes and ideas. Caffeine is a drug, but if I can keep my intake to this one good cup of coffee per day, then I believe I am within safe clinical limits.

Perhaps you would like to join me for coffee at the Cappuccino web site?

Last updated: 16th October 1996

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