Food Agriculture & Nutrition Network of Solano County
Written By: Kaithlyne Tran, Intern
Are you one of those people who can’t function without their daily dose of caffeine? As temperatures drop and seasonal caffeinated drinks make a comeback; we increase our caffeine intake to stay warm and energized. However, have you ever stopped to think about the impact caffeine has on your body? Let’s take a closer look at everyone’s favorite stimulant. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and has become a staple of our daily routine as we grab our cup (or cups). People who drink caffeine regularly may build tolerance and may not be as affected by side effects. Once consumed, our bodies absorb caffeine through our gut within 45 minutes. From there, caffeine is processed through the liver and can stay in our bloodstream for up to 9.5 hours! Now that you have a basic understanding of how caffeine digests in our bodies, let’s discuss the benefits and disadvantages.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, energy drinks, and even medications! With caffeine being easily accessible, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regards 400 milligrams of caffeine as safe for healthy adults to consume daily. Did you know that caffeine may help with weight loss? Temporarily decreasing appetite, caffeine is commonly found in weight loss supplements. Also, studies have shown that caffeine is connected to a lower risk of liver cancer and liver scarring since caffeine blocks adenosine, producing collagen that produces scar tissue. Additionally, an increased coffee intake may lead to a lower risk of gallstones as caffeine may trigger contractions in the gallbladder, increasing the flow of a hormone called cholecystokinin that quickens the digestion of fats. Studies on animals suggest that caffeine may protect against Parkinson’s disease since caffeine protects the brain from deterioration. Caffeine has the same effect as theophylline, a medication used to treat asthma. It relaxes the lung muscles and loosens bronchial tubes which makes breathing easier. Furthermore, there is evidence that consuming caffeine regularly may lower a person’s likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
Before you start chugging down more coffee, let’s talk about the potential downsides. Consuming caffeine later in the day may impact sleep quality since caffeine may block a hormone called adenosine which is linked to deep sleep. People who consume higher doses of caffeine may experience symptoms of nervousness and an increased heart rate. If you are someone who experiences anxiety or panic attacks, consuming too much caffeine can trigger those symptoms. It is worth noting that caffeine can have an impact on women's fertility as it can decrease muscle activity in the fallopian tubes. For pregnant women, it is advisable to limit their caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day as excessive consumption can result in elevated caffeine levels in the fetus, leading to reduced blood flow and oxygen levels which can increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Additionally, if you are taking medication, you should be mindful when drinking caffeine because it may not be as effective. If you have gout, an increased amount of caffeine may cause a gout attack. Lastly, caffeine negatively affects the circulatory system by increasing blood pressure and potentially impacting cardiac functions.
At the end of the day, it’s all about moderation. While caffeine can have some great benefits, it’s essential to be aware of the potential negative effects. So next time you reach for that cup of coffee, ask yourself – is it worth it? Listen to your body and make the best decision for you.
Caffeine | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Caffeine as a Factor Influencing the Functioning of the Human Body—Friend or Foe? - PMC (nih.gov)
Caffeine: Benefits, risks, and effects (medicalnewstoday.com)
By Catherine Park, Public Health Nutritionist
Every Saturday year around, the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association hosts the farmer’s market in the downtown district of Vallejo, CA. Vendors from across Northern California come to share their freshly grown produce and community members come to enjoy! Along with the seasonal produce, local honey and good old snacks, people also come to enjoy the information on nutrition, and take advantage of the WIC-FMNP coupons for families, seniors, CalFresh-EBT and Market Match that are offered and accepted at PCFMA’s farmer’s market.
Programs such as these make locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable and accessible to nutrition support program recipients. The Food Agriculture and Nutrition Network of Solano County (FANNS) contributed to these efforts by attending the Vallejo farmer’s market on three separate occasions this summer. FANNS hosted a fun fruit and vegetable scavenger hunt for all children and families which garnered a lot of attention and participation from both vendors and visitors.
Six fruit and vegetable plushies were hidden across various produce booths, participants were tasked with finding and capturing a picture of each one and reporting back to the FANNS booth for a prize. The FANNS booth was stationed between WIC and CalFresh-EBT to help target families receiving food assistance benefits and entice them with a game that encouraged visits to multiple vendors thereby increasing business for farmers and opportunities to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Families were provided with cookbooks and stickers upon completion of the scavenger hunt. FANNS used their presence at the Vallejo farmer’s market as an opportunity to share a variety of food resource information and community activity events provided by various FANNS partners and agencies. By engaging with families and initiating new relationships with local farmers through interactive activities and events, FANNS hopes to continue its efforts to connect nutrition support systems and close accessibility gaps.
This activity was a fun step in that direction by bringing healthy food, families and local food systems together in a playful way.
We would like to thank FANNS members who hosted the booth and partners who supported this activity by providing program resources!
Have you ever found yourself throwing away a pile of food scraps when preparing a meal for yourself or your family? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone. Food waste has become a serious problem in our world today and is one of the greatest issues facing the sustainability of our future food systems. While efforts are being made to help minimize food waste globally, our actions play a major role. To help fuel our future and develop a more sustainable way of living, practicing no waste cooking in the kitchen is a start!
It is the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday season! This season is perfect for families to spend quality time together and enjoy family meals. Eating meals together as a family can be an important way to foster a sense of attachment and connection. But did you know cooking could strengthen family bonding as well? Now, let's get our kids involved in the kitchen. Cooking with children can be educational, meaningful, and enjoyable. In addition, it is an efficient way of fostering healthy habits that will bring lifelong benefits.
Larisa Williams, Napa State Hospital Dietetic Intern 2023
Feeling down during this dark and stormy season? Read on to learn about nutrients in berries and other foods that can help improve your mood to help you feel your best all winter long.
Be sure to check out the recipe for Baked Berry Oatmeal at the bottom!
Written by Solano County Public Health Intern Shannon Sweeney
Stephanie Oelsligle Jordan is the next FANNS Partner we are highlighting in our Get to Know FANNS series. She is the Local Food Program manager with Sustainable Solano. She describes Sustainable Solano as an organization that “nurtures initiatives for the good of the whole.” Prior to working for Sustainable Solano, Stephanie attended culinary school at the Illinois Institute of Art where she received her Certificate of Professional Cooking. After that, she ran a catering business for 8 years in Chicago. Her favorite food is curry or anything with Indian spices.
Written by Solano County Public Health Intern Shannon Sweeney
Gio Miramontes is the first in our series highlighting the work of the Food, Agriculture, and Nutrition Network of Solano (FANNS) partners. In this series, we hope to provide readers with more information on the resources our partners provide and the goals of our network.
Gio is a Project Assistant at Innovative Health Solutions, an organization that aims to “improve the health and wellness for thousands of families in underserved and vulnerable communities.”
Written by Shannon Sweeney, Solano County Calfresh Healthy Living Intern
Were you late to planting your garden this year? Or do not know where to start? There are plenty of option to plant at the end of summer or start of fall, no matter the space you have. In Solano County we are blessed to be in hardiness Zone 9, with one of the longest growing ranges in the United States, from the end of February to December. Hardiness zones are determined by the last frost of spring and the first frost of winter. Even if you do not have a lot of space there is plenty of options of what to grow for an end of summer or fall harvest.
Written by Joshua McAtee, Napa State Hospital Dietetic Intern
Almost everyone has been on a diet at some point or knows someone who has. From the Paleo diet to the more recently popular Keto diet, dieting has been a large part of our culture for many years. As far back as 1863 when William Banting created the “Banting” diet, a low carb and low calorie diet that he used to lose weight, new diet fads continue to pop up and have been established as an easy solution to losing weight fast.
Written By: Napa State Hospital Dietetic Intern, Marina Kalenyuk
Eating “seasonal” may seem like a recent trend, but it has been around for many generations. Affordable produce is easy to find, whether its winter or summer, especially in the sunny state of California. You just need to know where to look! The key to healthy eating throughout the year is to buy seasonal produce. We will be focusing on seasonal vegetables because let’s face it, sometimes we need a little more convincing when it comes to enjoying our vegetables compared with fruit. Let’s get started with our story of seasonal vegetables by discussing the benefits of eating in season!