Caffeine

Caffeine is a methylated xanthine that acts as a mild central nervous system stimulant. It is found in a number of foods and beverages (Table 6), the main sources being coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, and soft drinks, as well as in prescription and non-prescription medicines, such as diet pills, headache treatments, and cold and flu medicines. Tea and cocoa also contain significant quantities of theophylline and theobromine, which are caffeine derivatives that have not been as widely researched.

Once caffeine and its derivatives are consumed, they are absorbed into the blood and body tissues and can cross the placenta to the fetus. The body

Table 6 Caffeine content of beverages and foods

Beverage or food Content (mg)

Table 6 Caffeine content of beverages and foods

Beverage or food Content (mg)

1 cup (190 ml) of instant coffee

~75

1 cup (190 ml) of brewed coffee

~100-115

(filter or percolated)

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