Saturday, July 26

Is Coffee Good or Bad For Your Brain?

Caffeine in coffee is what has an impact on brain function. A typical cup of coffee has 75-100 mg of caffeine.  That amount is enough to increase attention and alertness which is because adenosine receptor is affected.  Normally, adenosine attaches to this receptor, thereby acting as a central nervous system depressant. It supresses arousal and promotes a feeling of tiredness. 

Caffeine and adenosine generally have very similar structors. This means it is fairly easy for caffeine to bind on the adenosine receptor as the imposter it is.  Caffeine blocks out the actions of adenosine thereby leading to feelings of alertness or arousal.

Coffee addiction in Europe is relatively strong.  68% of the adult population admit that they don’t feel awake until after they have had their first cup. Many people find coffee a perfect companion when engaging in leisurely activities like watching football, watching TV with friends or even playing bingo on bingo sites, as found here It is no surprise that most of the entertainment channels have coffee ads or coffee themed content.

Recent studies have shown that coffee and caffeine may increase alertness under certain situations where sustained concentration is important. It can also improve performance for those suffering from jet lag.

The impact will vary from one person to another because the genetics plays a role in how caffeine is metabolised by individuals.

Age is equally a factor though as younger people are deemed less sensitive to caffeine than older people.

As is the case with any substances however, the body generally gets used to the effects of caffeine over time.  Brian mapping technologies have shown that caffeine is not connected to the part of the brain responsible for dependence.  The reinforcing effects of coffee therefore may not be as a result of the caffeine but as a result of the pleasurable aroma and after taste.

Some people, however, find themselves having withdrawal symptoms after cutting intake of caffeine abruptly.  The withdrawal symptoms could be headaches, reduced alertness and drowsiness. However, even in such situations, withdrawal symptoms are mild and disappear quickly.

The symptoms can be avoided by cutting down intake of caffeine slowly over a period of time.  Moderate coffee consumption of around 3-5 cups per day can be enjoyed as a part of a healthy and balanced diet.  Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to avoid going beyond three cups of coffee every day.

So is coffee good or bad for the brain? This can only be answered on an individual basis. It is up to you to decide if coffee helps in any way. However, dependence should be  avoided, and you need to keep your habits in check.

This post is submitted on The Coffee Chic.

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