Are you fed up for justifying your coffee drinking habit? Do you always feel irritated when people ask why you drink too much coffee each day? We understand how irritating it is each time you have to justify coffee is your friend. The good news is, as much as coffee is criticized, its benefits by far outweigh the downsides that exist.
Coffee Is more of a friend than an enemy
Research conducted by health professionals and scientist have continued to show caffeine in coffee is more of a friend than an enemy. So, if you have been forced to believe taking coffee is a bad thing, here is the good news. You are actually doing the right thing by enjoying your java. But it is good you also monitor your consumption to avoid adverse effects associated with taking too much coffee.
Why our brains crave caffeine
Your brain craving for caffeine is a good thing and something that should cherish unless requested to monitor your consumption by your doctor. Otherwise, make sure to grab your cup of coffee any time your brain craves for more. But why does our brain crave for more and more caffeine? Below are twelve reasons that will help you understand why your brain crave caffeine.
The habit of drinking coffee
It’s likely that you’re craving coffee out of habit. It could be a central part of your morning routine or a basis for social interactions. Over the course of time, you might have become mentally reliant on the practice of coffee drinking. So when you try to eliminate a binding psychological factor like coffee, it can feel uncomfortable.
Animal experiments have shown that once used to a basic cue-routine-reward habit, their brains start anticipating the reward even before they get it. And once expected, denying them the real reward leaves them disappointed and mopey.
This is craving’s neurological origin. Craving works for healthy habits. Be it the endorphin rush in their brain, the feeling of achievement or the care they eventually allow themselves. Whether it be wanting to enjoy a cup of coffee to start the day, or cup after a meal. This craving is what solidifies the habit; only signals and rewards are not enough.
Caffeine reduces cravings
Looking for a way to suppress your appetite? Or thinking to curb your craving? Caffeine, when combined with other energy boosters, will kill your craving and give you the energy you need to continue with your routine activities.
The Griffith University in Australia is currently researching this area where one group is given water, one group caffeinated coffee, and the other is given decaffeinated coffee. The focus of the research is to prove the effect of caffeine on controlling craving or suppressing craving.
Ever felt tired and after a few minutes of gulping a cup of coffee, you feel rejuvenated? This is because caffeine did boost your energy levels. Caffeine boosts your energy level by affecting the adenosine receptors in your brains.
These receptors bind within our neural membranes, which slows down our neural activity and in turn, makes us feel tired. Now when you take coffee, the caffeine instead binds with our neural membranes leaving less room for the adenosine receptors to make contact, therefore, stopping us from feeling tired.
It is good to note that caffeine also triggers your pituitary glands to kick in. This, in turn, affects our adrenal glands which when stimulated produces adrenalin (flight hormone) which gives you a burst of energy.
Caffeine strengthens DNA
A study carried by the European Journal of Nutrition revealed that caffeine strengthens DNA strands and helps to prevent dangerous breakages. The study focused on males with similar weights and diets going for a run. After the run, the control group were given 750ml of water to drink, and the test group were given 750ml of dark roast coffee to drink.
The results showed that DNA strand breakages increased slightly in the control group and decreased significantly in the test group. The difference between the two groups was significant. That is 27% difference.
Reduces suicide risk and depression
High caffeine intake is said to reduce depression and suicide risk. This is according to findings by the medical researchers at Harvard University over a period of twenty-four years. The finding revealed that caffeine ingesting reduces the risk of depression in women. Although further research is required, the initials findings showed the benefits of caffeine intake in reducing the risk of depression and suicide.
Caffeine burns calories
Trying to burn more calories? The caffeine in your coffee is your friend. According to a study by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition which aimed to prove that caffeine stimulates thermogenesis in humans. The findings revealed those who consumed caffeine burned more calories. So, if struggling to burn more calories, try caffeinated coffee.
Stimulates the Central Nervous System
For a long time, caffeine has been thought to hurt the central nervous system. But in recent researches, caffeine has been found to stimulate the central nervous system. A good study is that done by the National Institute of Health, which actually revealed that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system.
Basically, caffeine activates non-adrenal neurons and stimulates the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin through the methylxanthine present in the caffeine. These hormones, in turn, make you happy, improve your coordination and also boost your brain capacity for learning and memory.
Caffeine could be a life saver
We have already seen caffeine reduces suicide risk, depression and help in shedding weight. By helping you monitor your weight, caffeine also eliminates any chances of you becoming obese. Not to mention that caffeine also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and liver disease.
A 2005 study, published in the AHA Journal, revealed a direct correlation between drinking coffee and living longer.
Caffeine improves your focus
There are specific parts of our brains that control how our brains work on planning and concentration and your attention for a specific period. A study done by researchers at the Medical University of Innsbruck in Austria revealed that caffeine promoted an increase in brain activity in these parts or areas. Even though the study did not reveal how long the effect lasts, the period it lasts, whether short or long will definitely boost your focus.
Caffeine reduces the risk of some diseases
We have already seen some of the health benefits of caffeine. Below is a list of diseases caffeine is known to reduce their risk.
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia
- Type 2 Diabetes
Caffeine brightens your mood and vigilance
As mentioned earlier, caffeine consumption increases your brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin. These hormones raise your mood and give you the energy you need. Consequently, this brightens your mood.
Caffeine is able to wake the brain up. It causes an increase in the activity of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that has an enormous role in our mental and physical health. It controls the processes in the brain that affect emotional response and our ability to experience pleasure, explaining the pleasurable high experienced during the first sip.
Coffee’s effect on mood is considerable. A Harvard study in 1996 discovered an inverse relationship between coffee drinking and suicide among 87,000 female nurses, adding to the belief that coffee has potential antidepressant properties.
After the caffeine wears off, however, it may have a depressive effect on a person’s mood, but that’s when people just reach for another hit and another run to the coffee shop downstairs. In many offices it has replaced the water cooler or smokers hub as the activity during which ideas are shared and decisions are made.
Coping with stress
Stress affects the entire body, causing anxiety and exhaustion. Many adults use chemical boosters in times of depression, including nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. Wanting to return to the safety of familiar routines, particularly those that offer you a pick-me-up, is natural.
Caffeine improves your Short-Term Memory
Are you the kind of students who like cramming for exam? If yes, caffeine will not disappoint you as it is significant in short term memory. A study at John Hopkins University found a direct positive correlation between caffeine consumption and short-term memory. This means, if studying or cramming, you will capture more after drinking caffeinated coffee.
Coffee is healthy
Coffee is one of the healthiest drinks you will ever have. Besides having caffeine which we have already seen its benefits. Coffee also has natural anti-oxidants, which protect your body from free radicals. It also contains cafestol and kahweol, both diterpenes, which can have a positive effect on your cholesterol. In other words, coffee contains other substances your body needs to remain in good shape.
Low iron levels
If you have iron deficiency anemia (low iron levels), you could have symptoms like severe fatigue and weakness. If you’re chronically sleepy, it makes sense to switch to “wake up” caffeine. Sadly, coffee contains natural compounds called tannins that can keep the body from absorbing iron. Coffee can help you manage short-term exhaustion, but in the long-term it can intensify anemia symptoms.
Coffee has lots of antioxidants
Why give up on coffee? It contains a huge range of antioxidants, it’s truly a superfood or super drink. These antioxidants help to protect your body from free radicals which many medical experts believe can cause cancer and other diseases. If you have good amount of superfood laying around your home, wouldn’t you crave and drink it every day?
Coffee has always fostered great thinking and creativity
Known as the “milk of chess players and thinkers”, coffee has always played an important role in Turkish lifestyle and culture. It was so important that a women was given permission to divorce her husband if he could not keep her in an adequate supply of coffee! It was a part of daily culture a ritual, both loved and revered. Tradition found the glitterati meeting at coffee houses to play backgammon and discuss politics, so its role as a thinking mans liquid and social lubricant was already clearly defined.
When the Turkish Army invaded Vienna in the seventeenth century, coffee was inadvertently introduced to Europe. Many coffee bags were left behind as the soldiers fled the city and shortly after, the first coffees houses in Europe where established as people realized its amber-like qualities . Their trend spread across Europe, becoming an instant hit everywhere, assuming the same social roles as it had played in Turkey. It hit the UK, Italy, Paris and Germany where it was embraced wholeheartedly and then was taken to America with the colonies.
In Europe, the coffee house became the preserve of upper class socialites and business men who would meet, gather and discuss business. A coffee shop run by Edward Lloyd in the UK in the 1660’s eventually went on to become the Lloyds Insurance House, testament to the types of business clubs that coffee houses fostered and their role in entrepreneurial circles. As you can see, they have always fostered a “creative spirit”.
The caffeine in coffee has many benefits, some of which no one will ever tell you. We did our best to give as many reasons as possible why consuming caffeine is a good thing. Hopefully, you enjoyed reading this piece. For more information, feel free to reach us.