13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Coffee

Simon Calvin
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Caffeine Boosts Your Energy Levels

Your brain craves coffee and caffeine to give you that extra boost. Caffeine is an alkaloid, which works by blocking the neurotransmitter adenosine, a chemical that’s associated with feelings of tiredness.

By stopping the effect of adenosine, caffeine prevents you from feeling tired and increases overall alertness. This allows you to concentrate on your work or studies for longer and tackle the various tasks in front of you with more energy.

Enhancement of energy levels is a key reason why caffeine is considered coffee’s top effect. The extra boost of energy is beneficial for a wide variety of tasks. For example, it may help you work out longer during your exercise regime, perform better at the office, and study for your finals.

Despite the boost in energy, there are some negative side effects to consuming caffeine. Some of the more common side effects are nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, muscle tremors, or upset stomach.

Caffeine Reduces Suicide Risk and Depression

Coffee is one of the most popular stimulants in the world. According to the National Coffee Association, 70 percent of Americans drink coffee daily. With the exception of tea, it is the most frequently consumed beverage in the world.

The caffeine in coffee has been shown to be a mental aid in alertness, perception, and reaction time. It also has health benefits including a reduced risk of depression and suicide. In addition, if some of the studies are to be believed, there are some other interesting coffee facts, debates, and controversies.

The good news is that there is a lot of research on coffee, but there is also a lot of contradictory information. People seem to love to debate the negative effects of coffee on health. Some of the time the negative effects bear out, but there is always another study that refutes the findings.

The negative side-effects of coffee are typically mild and temporary in healthy adults. Caffeine in coffee has been associated with increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, disrupted sleep, jitteriness, and anxiety in susceptible individuals. For the general population, however, coffee has been associated with a reduction in the risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

Caffeine Strengthens DNA

A new study has shown that caffeine can boost the body’s ability to repair damaged DNA. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL have found that the caffeine molecule triggers the activity of an enzyme that can help protect our DNA. This helps us repair the damage that can lead to cancer.

In order to test this, the team compared lymphoma cells (tumor producing cells) in caffeine and non-caffeine exposed cultures. An increased level of DNA repair activity was observed in the caffeine-exposed cells.

The team picked caffeine for this study because they suspected that the drug might trigger DNA repair activity. Caffeine is a molecule that is both water and fat soluble which means it can be present in both our DNA strands and the cells. The team was confident that their hypothesis was correct because in previous studies it was shown that caffeine can survive short term stays in the human bloodstream.

To test the theory, the team applied caffeine to living organisms that were also exposed to DNA damaging radiation. Their conclusion indicated that caffeine can trigger enzymes that help repair this type of DNA damage, thus alleviating some of the damage and slowing the growth of tumors.

Caffeine Reduces Cravings

Research shows that a dose of caffeine can reduce your cravings for food and stimulate activity in the brain areas that control food choices.

In a study conducted at the University of Birmingham in the UK, men were given either caffeine before lunch or a placebo. In the afternoon, the men were given a selection of snack foods to choose from and they were told to eat until they were no longer hungry. The men who had consumed the caffeine meal were less hungry, ate fewer calories, and ate less fat during the afternoon snack.

Another study, also from the University of Birmingham, confirms that caffeine “ significantly reduces the number of calories consumed at lunch and decreases the overall energy intake at breakfast and lunch.

Caffeine Burns Calories

Drinking coffee may have some of the same benefits as working out, according to a new study. Researchers found that caffeine consumption was associated with lower weight in a study of more than 21,000 adults over a five-year period at Harvard Medical School. That’s because when caffeine activates the body’s sympathetic nervous system, the fight-or-flight mechanism, calorie burning ramps up, and energy levels are increased.

Another study, conducted at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, found that caffeine frees up more fat and less carbohydrate to burn. And a 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that coffee consumption was associated with an increased resting metabolism, an indicator of how well your body burns energy.

Caffeine Improves Your Focus

Caffeine is responsible for a lot of things — lots of them good! And, if you’ve ever tossed back a couple of cups of your favorite dark roast, you’ve probably felt the intense effects, like the fact that you can focus for hours on end.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, so it only makes sense that it would be most effective at waking up sleepy brain cells. That doesn’t mean it won’t wake up cells with a mind of their own, though; caffeine even wakes up cells responsible for pain sensation. That’s why caffeine can relieve headaches when taken in moderate doses.

Researchers have been studying caffeine intensely over the years and have found that it works as an effective way to increase both short-term and long-term memory, improve attention and reduce distractibility, boost concentration and alertness, boost locomotor activity and ambulatory behavior, and even reduce anxiety!

As for why it makes you focus, it’s all in your head. Literally. Some of caffeine’s neurobiological effects include caffeine activating adenosine receptors in your brain responsible for reducing the rate of spontaneous neuronal firing in your neocortex. Simply put, that means caffeine is playing with your brain chemicals to get a better result.

Caffeine Stimulates the Central Nervous System

When caffeine is ingested it is absorbed in the small intestine and passes through the blood stream to the brain. Caffeine blocks the body’s adenosine receptors. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that allows the body to relax. This prevents adenosine from attaching to these receptors, which in turn prevents the central nervous system from slowing down. This ultimately helps keep you awake by reacting with certain neurons and stimulating them.

Caffeine increases the production of epinephrine and dopamine, which are hormones that stimulate the feeling of pleasure. Without any interference from adenosine, the nervous system is able to achieve levels of energy and arousal that would not have been possible otherwise.

Caffeine Could Be a Life Saver

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug. It’s found naturally in the seeds, nuts, or leaves of more than 50 plant species. But the way in which it affects the central nervous system often does more good than we realize.

We all know that caffeine helps us wake up, but it actually affects us on a number of levels, both consciously and subconsciously. The amount of caffeine in your system is quantified in your blood as milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) and is generally recorded in a lab test in the medical profession. Doctors and patients use this number as a gauge to evaluate and measure various bodily functions, including alertness, cognition, and psychomotor performance.

Ideally, an adult should have a level between 60 and 120 mg/dl. And as most of us know, increases in caffeine will help raise your level to more ideal circumstances.

While many of the situations in which caffeine is used are fairly predictable (waking up, coffee in the afternoon, heading to a party, getting a buzz at night) its effects on the brain and body are much more extensive.

Here are 13 of them.

Coffee is Healthy

Three recent studies confirmed what coffee lovers and scientists have suspected for a long time: coffee is good for your brain. A few cups a day can lower your risk of dementia by more than half.

Coffee has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. It is also believed to reduce the risk of liver cancer.

Coffee can reduce inflammation and is anti-bacterial.

It has been shown to reduce depression and suicide risk. It’s also believed that coffee might reduce prostate cancer risk in men.

Studies on coffee give an overall positive picture. People who consume coffee have a lower chance of dying from any disease than people who don’t drink coffee.

Caffeine Reduces the Risk of Some Diseases

Coffee is a complex drink with a rich mythology. For centuries, it has been the central source of social interaction, creativity and business. It has been vilified, but more often than not considered a necessity. If you are a coffee drinker, you are in good company. About 57% of Americans ingest caffeine on a daily basis.

Caffeine goes by a variety of synonyms—from coffee to joe and black gold—but the truth is that caffeine is a chemical in your brain known as 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine. Along with other compounds, caffeine increases alertness and boosts certain parts of your brain. More specifically, it stimulates the central nervous system, increases awareness and decreases reaction time. This is why you may feel more focused and motivated after a cup of coffee.

Caffeine is addictive and can worsen the effects of certain medical conditions. It may also have side effects on your brain and body. However, the data isn’t all bad. Drinking coffee in moderation may protect you from certain diseases and may even reduce your overall risk of death. Read on to learn more about this remarkable drink.

Caffeine Brightens your Mood and Vigilance

When you drink coffee, you give your body the added boost of caffeine, which affects your brain. Caffeine gets into your bloodstream within five minutes after drinking a cup of coffee and can take up to eight hours to wear off.

Besides the boost of the caffeine, coffee itself has the ability to make you bright and alert. Results of some tests show that drinking coffee in the morning can lead to increased attention and a greater ability to focus on simple and complex tasks.

Caffeine Improves your Short Term Memory

Research has shown that caffeine improves short term memory. In a study done at the University of California, scientists found that people performed much better on a memory test after drinking a cup of coffee.

Coffee is The Biggest Source of Anti-Oxidants

American’s consumption of antioxidants is pitiful, especially when compared with the Koreans, who eat five times the amount of green tea and vegetables that we do. Many studies have shown that antioxidants are essential to delaying the aging process and staving off chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules that can cause significant harm to our cells. Free radicals can damage cells and cell components, alter genetic material, and may lead to cell death.

We don’t need to look any further than our average cup of joe to find a competent source of antioxidants. Caffeine is responsible for many of the brain benefits that coffee drinkers commonly report.

Studies have shown that caffeine is a powerful anti-oxidant that can prevent the oxidation process from progressing. Free radicals have a strong attraction to several elements in our bodies, but will only stick to the ones that are easiest to oxidize. This means that if our bodies are well supplied with antioxidants, they will avoid building up a significant amount of free radicals, and therefore will reduce overall oxidation in the body.

When coffee beans are harvested, they are left to oxidize in order to trigger a chemical reaction that will eliminate the coffee bean’s bitter taste.