How Can Coffee Help Us in So Many Ways?
For many of us something to really look forward to in the early mornings is the wake-up jolt you get from that first glorious cup of ‘joe’. But even before that is the ‘anticipation’ of what is about to hit your taste buds. This anticipation is mostly an unconscious action as part of our daily ritual upon waking. However, if there is one major benefit associated with coffee consumption, it would have to be energy. Before starting the hectic hustle and bustle of the day, the first couple of delightful coffees gives us the energy boost necessary to survive a day of corporate office life, or to help us cope with the day ahead. Think on this the next time you fire up your home coffee maker.
Is it effective for this? Absolutely. At least, for a period of time. After this initial period of time, coffee’s major energy boosting effects may be diminished, requiring more to achieve the same effect. Regardless, coffee can be a potent pick me up at times when you need to push your productivity into overdrive.
Interested to learn if coffee is right for you? Let’s go!
1. Coffee Is Able To Act On The Brain
As the day progresses, our circadian rhythm (24 hour cycle) dictates that it is time to slow down and starts initiating feelings of drowsiness and relaxation. This is normal and is actually good for optimal health as it helps ensure we get enough sleep.
The way this occurs is due to the action of adenosine on its receptors, aptly named the adenosine receptors. Caffeine and adenosine share structures that are very similar and both belong to a group of compounds known as xanthines.
So, owing to the fact that their structures are closely resembled, caffeine is able to “mimic” the shape of adenosine, and interact with its receptors effectively blocking adenosine from causing its relaxing effects. As a result, nerve impulses are transmitted faster, instead of slowing down, at least up to the period that caffeine wears off and releases itself from the receptor.
2. Coffee Improves Physical Output
Caffeine found in coffee improves muscular contractions and blood flow, allowing for smoother neuro-muscular transitions and increased force of contraction. This is perfect for athletes who need a competitive edge while training, or anyone involved in physical work for that matter, as its benefits should manifest as resistance to fatigue.
3. Coffee Enhances Motor Function
Motor function refers to the efficiency with which we are able to perform tasks with our limbs, such as performing repetitive tasks with your hands, such as on a keyboard, or doing data entry. It is for this reason that coffee/ caffeine rules the roost when it comes to improving efficiency from doing repetitive tasks, but not necessarily tasks that require technical processing.
4. Coffee Enhances Mood
Do you find yourself to be at your most productive when stressed, depressed or anxious? No, you invariably don’t since emotional state plays an important role in your focus and even energy levels. Consumption of coffee raises brain chemicals that promote a sense of wellbeing, allowing you to perform in a state of emotional efficiency.
5. Coffee Increases Energy Levels
One of the effects of coffee in the body is increasing the output of adrenalin from the adrenal glands. Adrenalin keeps the body in a high energy state, to perform at higher intensities. This is due to evaluation of the “fight or flight” reflex, which either makes the body able to handle challenges, or run from them.
6. Coffee Enhances Working Memory
Think of this as a computer’s RAM, which is the processing power your brain is able of. By increasing your working memory, you are less prone to be distracted and allows you to have a clean flow of energy to the brain.
Coffee can be especially useful when consumed before a task or activity that requires a high degree of focus or energy. Having said that, try to not get too reliant on coffee, consuming it just for the sake of doing so. This will lead to a ‘tolerance’ in your body , after which you reach a point of diminishing returns. This means you get increasingly less benefit in real terms as you drink an increasing amount of coffee. In other words: enjoy! but don’t over-indulge.