There are over 2.25 billion cups of coffee enjoyed throughout the world each day. For this reason, it is easy to see why coffee is the most valuable traded food commodity in the world.
The effectiveness of coffee as a high performance brain fuel is just one of the reasons that it is such a popular beverage. Caffeine, which is the primary active ingredient in coffee is the most used psychoactive drug in the world. The connection between the main botanical source of caffeine, the coffee plant, and humans biochemistry is one of the best hacks in nature.
With so many people drinking coffee each day, it is interesting to look at some of the side effects and health benefits that this beverage can have. Here are 5 reasons why your brain loves you drinking coffee and why you should continue to do so.
1. Coffee Provides Healthy Antioxidants
There have been over 1000 antioxidants found in the coffee beans before roasting and there are even more that come out when the beans are roasted. Antioxidants help fight inflammation, which is an underlying cause for many chronic conditions such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, and some types of cancer. In addition, antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which can lead to chronic illnesses.
2. Provides a Boost to Short Term Memory
Austrian researchers found that when a study group was given 100 mg of caffeine, which is about how much is found in a single dose of coffee, there was a surge in their brain activity measured using an fMRI while performing a memory test. The reaction times and memory skills of the participants were much higher than the other group of participants who took a placebo instead.
It seems that caffeine affects the area of the brain that is responsible for concentration and memory. This provides a boost to a person’s short term memory. However, it is not clear on how long these effects can last. The short term memory boost also vary depending on the person.
3. Coffee May Protect the Brain from Cognitive Decline
Consuming coffee on a regular basis may also prevent cognitive decline that is associated with different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. In one study researchers found that people who drank between three to five cups of coffee each day during had a 65% decrease in the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. The researchers also measured how tea effected cognitive decline and found no association.
There are several different theories on why coffee may help prevent cognitive decline. One of the theories is that caffeine prevents beta-amyloid plaque from building up. Beta-amyloid plaque could be a contributor of the onset and progression of dementia. In addition, since coffee has also been associated with a decrease in risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor of dementia, it also lowers the risk of cognitive decline.
4. Coffee and Your Heart
While it is now seen that your brain loves coffee and the effects that it has, another benefit of drinking coffee is how it affects your heart. A Dutch study analyzed data from over 37000 people for a period of 13 years. This study found that people who consumed between two to four cups of coffee each day had a lower risk of heart disease in comparison to those who drank more or less coffee and those who do not drink coffee.
Some evidence has shown that coffee may support the health of the heart by protecting the heart from arterial damage that can be caused by inflammation.
5. Coffee and Depression
There have been several studies conducted on both men and women that have linked drinking coffee to lower rates of depression. In many of these studies it was found that heavy coffee drinkers tend to have a lower risk of depression by up to 20 percent.
The researchers have not yet found a reason for why coffee may help stave off depression, but it is known that the caffeine from coffee activates neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine that control moods.
Overall, drinking coffee each day has numerous health benefits to consider. There is a reason that when people wake up in the morning the first thing that they reach for is a hot cup of coffee. From lowering risk of heart disease to providing short term memory boosts and even helping with cognitive brain function, coffee can be a healthy drink to consume each day. As with anything, it is important to consume coffee in moderation in order to achieve the health benefits it provides.