Ninety percent of Americans drink some type of caffeine every day. While we all hear the doom and gloom of how caffeine can be detrimental and bad for our bodies, there’s no denying that it can be beneficial, especially during the crucial “pick me up I’ve got things to do” times of the day.
For instance, in the classroom, when you just can’t seem to stay awake. And even more specifically, while in college: a great time for ultimate experimentation…with caffeine. From the first couple of parties and early class schedules, college seems to be the time when the average American learns to consume our all-time favorite beverage.
Caffeine for the Brain
Adenosine receptor proteins are the sleep detectors of the body. When you are tired, whether you’re a college student who stayed out late at a party or a CEO who stayed up planning your upcoming board meeting, your drowsiness will make you want to crash right on top of your desk.
Yet when we drink our coffee or tea, caffeine binds to these receptors, essentially crippling the ability for adenosine to be detected. Thus, our brain is tricked into temporarily believing that it is well-rested and ready to take on the new day.
Caffeine acts as a central nervous stimulant. It boosts mental performance positively enough for studying, working or completing complex tasks.
What about a Caffeine Crash?
There is a so-called “downfall” to consuming caffeine. But as we see it, it’s a “downfall” that actually ends in good rather than bad.
Once your body does detect the now-increased adenosine, your energy level will be at an even lower level than it was at the start. This is what many people refer to as “the crash”.
Caffeine genuinely perks up the mood in an immediate manner through dopamine excitation. However, serotonin is drained throughout the caffeine experience, eventually making for the coffee high wear away. This is where that second, or third (or fourth?) cup comes in handy.
Let’s Look at the Long Term
Brace yourselves: though it does affect serotonin levels, caffeine may have more positive oomph than you may have imagined.
In a 1995 study, 400,000 50-71 year old volunteers were put to the test. With each free of disease, the individuals were monitored for years. In 2008, after 50,000 of those volunteers had died, the study uncovered that those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee daily were 10% less likely to pass away.
Caffeine also has been proven to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes development, prostate cancer, oral cancer, basal cell carcinoma or skin cancer, and breast cancer. Caffeine in coffee may even help deter the onset of dementia by reshaping the inside of our brains through biochemical elements. Don’t believe us? Check out what these animals helped prove.
So, can we be so bold as to say that caffeine encourages healthy living while at the same time increasing productivity? We say YES! Don’t be afraid to pick up that second cup of coffee or extra shot of espresso (as long as you realize the negative effects on serotonin while also taking into considering the positive ones, too!).
There ya have it: there’s nothing wrong with consuming a little caffeine. In fact, there seems to be more helpful brain effects than not…as long as you drink it in moderation.
So what do you say? Want to grab a cup o’ Joe?