Caffeine, Mateine, Guaranine? You Decide

Posted: 01/03/2013 in English, Science and stuff
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The debate continues about the following psychoactive substances: caffeine, mateine or guaranine, which is healthier? Of the three, caffeine is most familiar to North Americans. It is found in coffee, non-herbal teas, cocoa, chocolate, soda and medicine. Even decaffeinated products contain a certain amount of caffeine. How much we consume depends on the concentration, the part of the plant used, the region of cultivation, the preparation, and the process. The caffeine in coffee derived from the bean of the coffee plant is far more concentrated than the caffeine found in non-herbal tea leaves, cocoa bean (chocolate), or kola nut (soda). Coffee roasting produces more caffeine than tea brewing.
 
Caffeine

has both positive and negative effects on us. According to http://www.hubpages.com, the positive include its stimulant nature which helps us stay alert and attentive; its ability to reduce the risk of diseases as Parkinson’s, cirrhosis of the liver, gall stones, and kidney stones; its ability to protect against dementia and asthma; and its slew of antioxidants which help in the prevention of aging. The negative elements include serious concerns. It can increase the level of the bad LDL cholesterol, and blood pressure. It can cause rapid heartbeat, heartburn, osteoporosis due to loss of calcium, dehydration (caffeine is a diuretic), insomnia, and lack of control of blood sugar levels for people with type 2 diabetes. It can create addiction (because it is a stimulant). Interestingly, plants with caffeine in their chemical composition have a built-in insecticide. It kills many of the insects that may seek to destroy or damage them.
Mateine,
found in the yerba mate plant, is believed by some to have a different chemical makeup and therefore is a completely different psychoactive stimulant than caffeine. But evidence shows that it just might be caffeine by another name. Mateine concentrations also vary depending on the parts of the plant used, the region of cultivation, its preparation, and process. Dried yerba mate leaves steeped in hot water produce less caffeine, but higher amounts of minerals, vitamins, and amino acids, according to http://www.wikipedia.org/yerba.

In South America where the plant is native, especially in Argentina, Southern Brazil, Uraguay, and Paraguay, people drink mate daily from a hollowed-out calabash or metal, gourd-like receptacle through a silver straw. Outside South America, mateine is found in energy boosters and teas.

The South Americans who use this substance boast of longevity. They believe that it fights aging and fatigue; detoxifies blood; produces muscle relaxation, alertness; and stimulates the mind. Scientists as Dr. Daniel Mowrey, PhD., Yerba Mate: For Better Health, http://www.noborders.net, have conducted research that supports these claims. However, http://www.wikipedia.org reports studies that indicate yerba mate has high levels of carcinogenic chemicals.

Guaranine,

found in the guarana plant, is also considered caffeine by some and something totally different by others. The seeds actually have more caffeine than coffee, according to http://www.altmedicine.about.com. The plant is native to Brazil but also grows in Venezuela. The seeds and small berries are used as sources of energy by the inhabitants of the Amazon. The rest of Brazil, Venezuela, and North America use guaranine in high energy drinks, sodas, teas, and weight-loss pills.

Research shows that the stimulant inhibits obesity and fatigue; increases endurance and alertness; improves memory. The negative aspect suggests that people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney disease, epilepsy, and insomnia should avoid usage. Those taking aspirin, anticoagulants or products with ephedrine should also refrain.

So whether your preference is caffeine, mateine or guaranine, it would seem, as with all things, moderation is the key. Consulting your health care provider and doing your own extensive reading may also help you make the healthier choice.

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Comments
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