As we all by now know, coffee is one of the most popular beverages on our planet. Though it has been “roasted” by the media in the past (pun intended) coffee is actually a beverage that is good for your body. Also, in our culture of living this beverage is considered to be a valuable source of antioxidants. And, it is likewise connected to numerous health benefits such as a decreased risk of liver disease and type 2 diabetes. But what caffeine does to your brain and your body is more than just getting rid of the toxins, here’s why it’s good for you (if you drink it in moderate amounts of course).
What Caffeine Does to Your Brain – Active Ingredients
As we said, if you drink coffee in moderate amounts, it can be very healthy for you. Not many people know that coffee contains numerous bioactive compounds that actually make it valuable for our body. Again, a large amount of these bioactive compounds are antioxidants and they reverse the damage done by free radicals in your body.
Here’s a breakdown of the most important active ingredients found in coffee:
As you might have guessed, the number one active ingredient in coffee is caffeine. This is the part of your coffee that stimulates your central nervous system.
Another benefit that comes with coffee is blood sugar and metabolism stabilization. That is possible thanks to these polyphenol antioxidants. In addition, these antioxidants are linked with slowing down age-related mental decline.
Kahweol and Cafestol
Coffee lovers know that if you want to taste the coffee’s natural oil, you need to drink unfiltered coffee. But what not many know is the fact that that oil, contains high amounts of Kahweol and Cafestol. This means that your liver is protected and that you reduce the chances of getting liver cancer. However, too much of these ingredients and you may risk raising the LDL cholesterol.
When coffee is exposed to high temperature, it releases niacin (nicotinic acid filled with vitamin B3). This compound is great for inhibiting bacteria growth in your mouth, thus reducing the risk of dental cavities development.
All of these active ingredients are great for your body and mind, but what we need to mention that their amount varies depending on the coffee strain and the way it’s prepared. Also, the effects of active ingredients also depend on how much you drink coffee during the day.
Brain and Coffee?
Caffeine effects come from how it interacts with adenosine receptors in your central nervous system. To understand this better, you must keep in mind that these receptors are what triggers your state of alert. Now, as the day goes by and we get more and more worn out, adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that “blocks” the receptors from keeping you awake, builds up. Thus, you start feeling sleepy.
However, since both caffeine and adenosine compete for the same receptors, the more you add caffeine into your system, the more it blocks adenosine and keeps you awake.
What Caffeine Does to Your Brain? Boost Brain Function?
The short answer is “Yes, it does.” However, the longer answer would be “Yes, it does, but in short terms”. As we already said, it boosts your brain function by blocking the “sleepy” neurotransmitter known as adenosine. However, this is not the only brain function benefit you get from caffeine. In fact, this neurotransmitter also improves the releasing of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline neurotransmitters. Here’s what that means:
- Mood improvement
- Faster reaction time
- Improved vigilance
- Higher attention
- Improved learning
- General mental function improvement
However, like with any other receptor in our central nervous system, tolerance can be developed over time. This means that in order to feel the effects of caffeine, after a while, you will have to drink more coffee than before.
Memory and Caffeine
There are mixed research results when it comes to how coffee affects our memory. Some researchers claim that short-term memory improvement is possible by using caffeine, while others claim that it doesn’t actually help with memory task performance.
But there are also those who claim that caffeine may improve long-term memory if used after learning something new. So, the bottom line is, if you want to improve your memory, drink coffee after a studying session because it makes the memories harder to forget.
Should You Be Drinking Coffee?
Yes, you should have coffee if you like it, but moderately. This way, it will be quite beneficial to your brain functions. Otherwise, you will suffer from sleep problems, heart palpitations, jitters, and anxiety.
Furthermore, people who regularly drink coffee have short-term benefits such as good mood, improved vigilance, improved reaction and learning time. While in the longer-run, coffee reduces your chances of getting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s brain diseases.
In the end, for some, gallons of coffee won’t bring any side effects while for others, even a little amount of caffeine is not a good choice as they might overload their CNS. Thus, it is needless to say that some people should take it easy when it comes to coffee, pregnant women and kids especially.
For those of you who find coffee a necessity, feel free to moderately consume it and enjoy the brain benefits it brings.