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7 Ways drinking coffee might affect your brain

Monday, January 21, 2019

Coffee is believed to be the most popular beverage in the world, with more than 400 billion cups consumed each year. Some of us can’t go a day without having a cup (or three) of coffee. While you know that caffeine is the stimulant that gives you that “lift”, you might not have realised how your consumption of coffee really affects your brain.

Here are 7 interesting facts about how caffeine affects your body and mind.

 1. Caffeine is actually a psychoactive drug

Caffeine is actually the most widely-used psychoactive substance in the world, according to a study which found that at least 80 percent of the adult population consumes it. A psychoactive drug is a substance that changes how our brains function in a manner that results in brief changes to the way we behave, our mood, and perception. 

 

2.  It can make you happier

Have you noticed that you’re in a better mood after you’ve had your first cup of coffee?  A 2015 study revealed that dopamine - a natural stimulant produced by your brain and is often thought of as the "pleasure chemical" - has more effective results when adenosine receptors are blocked. Adenosine is the chemical responsible for making us feel sleepy. That means that getting your daily cup of coffee may actually make you a happier person. Several studies have also indicated that regular consumption of caffeine may be linked to lower rates of depression and even lower rates of suicide.

 

3.  Caffeine deceives your brain into thinking it’s not tired

Caffeine is a stimulant that changes your brain chemistry in a way that shields your brain from feeling tired.  According to Amerisleep, “when you’re feeling sleepy, your brain is normally producing adenosine, a natural chemical that’s associated with sleep, as already mentioned above. To the receptors in your brain, caffeine looks really similar to adenosine. Thanks to that similarity, caffeine can bind to those receptors, making them unable to pick up any adenosine”.

 

4.  Caffeine regulates the blood flow in your brain

A surprising fact is that many medicines for headaches and migraines actually use caffeine as a main ingredient. Sometimes headaches are preceded by the enlarging of blood vessels in a person’s brain and research found that caffeine consumption lowered cerebral blood flow by an average of 27 percent.

 

5.  One cup of coffee can boost your memory for up to a day 

A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience - where about 200 mg of caffeine was used, discovered that caffeine enhances memory for up to 24 hours after consumption. Drinking a cup of coffee could also help you cope with dull tasks and remember straightforward information.

 

6.  Coffee consumption can protect you from Alzheimer’s disease

Another study found that  consumption of 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day was associated with up to a 65 percent decrease in late-life risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

 

7. Coffee can increase your lifespan

Drinking more coffee can help you live longer, according to new research. After tracking more than 520, 000 people from 10 European countries for an average of 16.4 years, researchers found that the more coffee participants consumed, the lower their risk of death.

Although all these great benefits were discovered, a survey also found that on average coffee drinkers were paying more for their Life Insurance. This is due to the fact that coffee, and in particular caffeine, is often associated with a huge rise in blood pressure, which life insurance companies take into account when profiling an individual for cover.