Of course, coffee helps you feel awake but how exactly does it do that, and what else is the coffee doing to your body?With a Starbucks on every major city block, it’s clear that the Americans love to drink coffee. A 2013 National Coffee Association survey found that 83 % of American adults on average drink three cups a day. That’s a lot of lattes.
Here is how our beloved caffeine fix could affect everything from our memory to how long we are going to live.
IT BOOSTS THE MEMORY
Here’s some news that is going to cement a procrastinator’s reliance on the coffee: In addition to giving an extra boost of energy to the last-minute prep for the night before some big test or presentation, the coffee will also help enhance memory. A study conducted by John Hopkins researchers found that the caffeine could have a positive effect on the long-term memory, and it’s helping us strengthen recall a full 24 hours after we consume caffeine.
In the study, the participants was given a caffeine tablet or a placebo 5 minutes after having them study several images. The next day, the caffeine consumers were more likely to correctly distinguish whether the shots in a new set of images were the same or they were just similar to the images they originally had viewed.
Now if only the coffee could help us to forget the memory of all those painful all-nighters that we have had to pull.
IT HINDERS INTROVERTS
In case you are on the shy side, it turns out that you might not jive with java. In the book, “Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being,” Brian Little the author of the book says that caffeine may negatively affect the introvert’s productivity after their morning trip to Starbucks.
“After ingesting 2 cups of coffee, the extraverts carry out tasks more efficiently, while the introverts perform less well,” writes the author. “This deficit is enlarged when the task that they are engaging in is quantitative [such as math] and if it’s done under time pressure.” The thinking behind the theory is that the introvert persons, who tend to operate at an optimal level of alertness, are overstimulated by the caffeine consumption, which is making them more distracted and less likely to perform well when beginning the tasks. However, when it comes to overcoming their inhibitions, the introverts still got the good ol’ booze.
IT HELPS YOU CHEAT DEATH
Have you ever felt like you would just die if you didn’t have that daily cup of joe? So, a recent study suggests coffee might, actually, help you live much longer. According to the researchers those persons who consumed 3-5 cups of coffee per day had a 15 % lower risk of premature death as a result of causes ranging from diabetes to heart disease than those persons who skipped the daily cup of coffee. And while the study shows just that there is an association – instead of definitive proof — between drinking coffee and evading the premature death, we could confirm that consuming coffee is making us feel invincible every day.
IT MAKES YOU ALERT AF
No surprise on this. Just a cup of coffee turns us from zombie to superhero just before we’ve finished checking our morning emails. However, how exactly does the caffeine do that, and why it works so quickly? For beginners, it easily bypasses the blood-brain barrier, which is the central nervous system’s built-in barricade to the foreign substances. This filter is blocking the viruses, bacteria and most drugs to enter the brain. However, coffee slips through unimpeded. Within half an hour, caffeine has infiltrated the bloodstream as well as every cell in the body. Consider it as the Navy SEAL of substances.
The moment that barrier is crossed, the coffee blocks the activity of adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in making us tired, describes Marci Clow, MS, a registered dietician and senior nutritionist for Rainbow Light supplements. She also adds, “By blocking adenosine other neurotransmitters, we become more alert. Studies found that the caffeine equivalent of about 2 cups of coffee is able to enhance the cognitive function and mood among sleep-deprived persons, and affect the specific zones of the brain that are responsible for memory and concentration.”
IT BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM
It would be great if it existed a magical elixir that helped us burn a few calories. Well, it turns out that the coffee is able to do just that. According to the study that was published by “Physiology and Behavior,” those people who drank coffee increased their metabolic rate by even 16 % over the ones who didn’t. And, as we all know, the faster the metabolism, the more calories you will burn. Moreover, the coffee has been shown to improve the endurance levels, which means if you down your cup before hitting the gym, you could potentially workout longer, and harder, and thus burning more calories. You should just make sure to skip adding sugar and cream because just as our go-to dress, coffee is most slimming when it’s black.
IT MAKES YOU POOP
A great follow-up to the “but first, coffee” mantra that lots of us subscribe to, might be “and then poop.” Yep, in case you are among the many people that refuse to consume coffee unless there is a toilet nearby, then you know that caffeine is able to make you poop almost instantly after you consume it. “Coffee promotes peristalsis, and that is the contraction and relaxation of the intestinal muscles,” explains Clow about this curious coffee-poop correlation. “For some persons, the bowel-stimulating effect of coffee is a way to keep it regular.”
However, due to the fact that many of us drink the coffee once they wake up, a post-coffee poop could also mean that your gastrointestinal system is simply revving up at the start of the day — and the coffee is providing just a little push. “Drinking plain hot water (separate from the coffee beans or the added caffeine) also has a great stimulating effect,” says Nora Zorich, who is PhD, MD and Chair, Arbonne Scientific Advisory Board. “In this sense, if you have a bowel movement right after the morning coffee is also likely related to the other drinking (such as hot water) or eating, that is stimulating intestinal contraction waves.” However, we are going to stick with coffee over hot water, since it gets both our bowels and our minds going in the morning.
IT MAKES YOU FEEL OH-SO-GOOD
You would rather douse someone with scalding-hot coffee instead of speak to them before having those first few sips of the sweet brew. However, once you have had your morning dose of coffee, you are all ears. That might be because coffee is just as likely to boost the mood as it is god for boosting alertness. “In addition to blocking the adenosine receptors, caffeine is also able to affect the other major neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, serotonin and dopamine, delivering a boost even when we are well-rested,” adds Clow. “Dopamine improves the mood, while the serotonin is making us feel more relaxed, alert and energetic.” The result is the feel-good rush from our morning coffee — and very useful information to those poor unfortunate persons who have ever dared to talk to us before we have had our first cup.