Ask the docs: It’s possible to capture the power of caffeine

King Features SyndicateAugust 3, 2013 

Q: I’m desperate to find an energy drink that’s good for me. What’s out there?

SANDY H., Ocean Grove, N.J.

A: Black coffee is our favorite energy drink, because caffeine delivers many benefits (alertness is the least of them!). And if you stay with the basics, you’ll dodge health problems that come from choosing energy drinks packed with risky additives. So here’s how to choose smart drinks to power up your day.

1. Capture caffeine’s power. Caffeine boosts energy, plus helps stave off heart disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes, dementia and nine types of cancer. And it eases migraines, improves exercise performance, opens airways and steps up concentration, memory and reaction time.

Aim for around 300-600 mg of caffeine a day — stop before you get edgy or can’t sleep. At-home brews deliver 100-180 mg in 12 ounces; chain coffee shops may double that dose; and 8 ounces of green or black tea contains 30-80 mg.

2. Brew secrets of success: Drink filtered coffee; a paper filter removes substances that raise LDL cholesterol. DO NOT add milk; it erases some of coffee’s benefits. And you know what we say about sugar — don’t do it.

3. Consider caffeinated water. Looking for an alternative to coffee? Bottled waters with caffeine and no sugar can do the trick.

4. Skip energy drinks with additives, sugar and extra vitamins. If it says lecithin, creatine, taurine, phenylalanine, citicoline, tyrosine or choline on the label, or if it says “amino acids” but doesn’t list them individually, say, “No thanks.”

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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