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      • Am I having too much caffeine – and how much is too much?

      • We all have different tolerances to caffeine. Some people claim they’re allergic, others find their nerves a’jangling after a coffee others would consider weak, and lots of us would unplug the company coffee machine and sit it on our desk if we could. But is there a safe limit to how much caffeine you should have on a daily basis?

        It’s well known that pregnant women should reduce caffeine intake and that people with an existing heart condition should seek medical advice on how much is safe for their particular situation. And if caffeine starts to give you the jitters, you find you can’t concentrate, or you become irritable, you’ve probably tipped over your personal caffeine limit.

        In April this year, a team from the International Life Sciences Institute recently analysed more than 700 caffeine safety studies to verify the recommended daily limit for caffeine intake. The information they pored over indicated that too much caffeine could be linked with anxiety, depression and even raised percentages of sperm with DNA damage.

        So, what is the safe limit?

        The team’s research confirmed the figure that’s published by the European Food Safety Authority: 400mg a day for a healthy person, 2-300mg or less for pregnant women. If you’re unhealthy – particularly with a heart condition or if you’ve noticed feeling unwell after having caffeine – you’ll probably want to cut back or cut it out entirely.

        Of course, 400mg a day isn’t an absolute limit. And a day without doesn’t mean doubling up the day after. But it’s a good guide for what we should drink and be sure we’ll remain healthy. After all, caffeine has been in our food and drink for more than a thousand years, and there are quite a few known health benefits of drinking coffee.

        Aim for 400mg or less and you shouldn’t go far wrong/ That equates to five 12-ounce shots of espresso or up to seven 8-ounce cups of filter coffee. Don’t forget to count your tea intake and any caffeinated energy and soft drinks.

        It’s good news, really – that’s five good quality coffees you can have each day, guilt-free. And these days decaffeinated coffee tastes pretty fine too, even from a bean-to-cup machine.