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Why Are Some People Addicted to Tea and Coffee?

Why Are Some People Addicted to Tea and Coffee?

Coffee and tea have distinctive flavours that many people find very pleasant, but taste alone does not account for some people's dependence on frequent cups from early morning to late at night.

Heavy tea and coffee drinkers seek the increased alertness or clearer thinking they experience after drinking a cup of either brew. The 'wake-me-up' properties of tea and coffee can become addictive. The chemical in both coffee and tea that stimulates our nervous system is caffeine, which is also found naturally in cacao beans, used to make chocolate. Tea also contains a small amount of a more potent stimulant, theophylline.

Once caffeine is absorbed into the blood stream, it can reach all parts of the body, and causes a variety of effects. It makes the heart pump more blood, but it decreases the blood flow to the brain by constricting blood vessels there. Perhaps it compensates for this by stimulating the cerebral cortex, to give us a more alert feeling! Too much caffeine can cause irritability, nervousness, jumpiness, irregular heartbeat, headaches, insomnia and other unpleasant symptoms.

Those who are addicted to the flavour, but not the caffeine of coffee and tea, can use decaffeinated products, which provide the taste without the jolt!


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