People are drinking more coffee than ever before. A 0.5% rise was seen in coffee consumption between 2019 and 2020, according to the International Coffee Organization. A recent study revealed that an estimated 64% of people in America are coffee fans. Among those who do drink coffee, 79% will have at least one cup a day.
Why do we wake up and immediately start to crave that cup of coffee? It’s likely to do with the caffeine found in this hot beverage. Coffee contains caffeine, a chemical that is linked to increased alertness, which may also help you wake up in the morning. We’ll take a look at the role that coffee can play in your day at the office.
The Mental Effects Of Coffee
When we take a look at how coffee affects you, especially so early in the morning, we turn our focus to caffeine. This is an all-natural compound that is classified as a stimulant. Caffeine is not only a compound that you can get from a cup of coffee. This stimulant is also naturally found in cacao plants, as well as tea.
When you have a cup of coffee, the caffeine stimulates two parts of your body. This includes the central nervous system, as well as the brain.
When your central nervous system and brain are both stimulated, you may find that you do not get tired as quickly. If you felt tired before the cup of coffee, you may have an improvement in your level of alertness now. These effects are caused by a specific mechanism of action – something to take note of when trying to understand why coffee helps you get through the day.
The caffeine chemicals in the coffee travel to your life after you drink the beverage. The liver breaks the caffeine down into small molecules – and these molecules then travel toward the brain. In the brain, the activity of adenosine receptors is reduced. In turn, less adenosine is produced in your brain.
Adenosine is associated with feelings like tiredness and relaxation. When the brain released these chemicals, you’ll feel like you want to sleep. By binding to the receptors, your brain will have less of a response to adenosine. This means you won’t experience that tiredness that comes with adenosine binding to its appropriate receptors.
Other Benefits Of Coffee And Caffeine
Caffeine has been proven to provide enhanced wakefulness and help to provide a boost in focus. These, however, are not the only benefits that come from drinking coffee – or another type of caffeinated beverage.
Here are a few additional benefits that you could experience if you drink coffee in moderation:
- Some studies show that caffeine could elevate your performance during physical activities. The chemical helps to delay the onset of fatigue. It also helps to provide an improvement in muscle contractions.
- No, caffeine does not cause heart problems if you drink it in moderation. In fact, a daily cup of coffee could actually be good for your heart. In one study, there was an 18% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease among people who drank up to four cups of coffee per day.
- There are studies that show having up to four cups of coffee each day might be able to reduce the risk of colorectal and liver cancers. The risk of skin cancer may also be reduced.
- Caffeine also has a beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Drinking about three cups of coffee every day might help to improve the balance of the gut microbiome.
How Much Caffeine Is Enough?
Drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks in moderation is beneficial. Too much, however, can lead to a fast heart rate, as well as other side-effects. With this in mind, you should learn how much caffeine will lead to beneficial effects in your body and avoid taking more than this.
Remember that coffee is not the only beverage that loads caffeine into your body. When looking at your daily caffeine consumption, consider all drinks or even foods that contain this chemical.
It is generally advised to consume less than 400mg of caffeine each day. This amount is unlikely to cause side-effects and may provide you with the expected benefits.
A cup of regular coffee contains anything from 102mg to 200mg of caffeine – considering you have a 240ml serving. Espresso has much higher caffeine content, with some varieties having as much as 720mg per 240ml of espresso.
Energy drinks contain 50mg to 160mg of caffeine, while a cup of brewed tea may contain up to 120mg. Beverages that contain cocoa will usually have a much smaller amount of caffeine – averaging between two and seven milligrams.
Coffee is not only a delicious beverage that allows you to experiment with different beans and flavors, but also one that loads you with a dose of caffeine. This chemical may lead to increased focus and alertness, helping you feel more awake. Knowing how much is enough should be important, however, as too much coffee can lead to adverse effects.