Most people would agree that their morning isn’t complete until they have a cup of coffee in their hands and caffeine coursing through their veins. Seven out of ten Americans drink coffee at least once a week, while 62% of people drink it every day.
However, while Americans may have a serious coffee addiction, not everyone knows how it affects their body. To remedy that, today we’re going to examine exactly how coffee affects you.
Here are some of the good and bad effects that your cup (or cups) of coffee can have on your body.
Improved energy levels
One of the biggest appeals of coffee is that it helps many people feel more awake in the morning. That’s because it contains caffeine, which is a stimulant.
After getting absorbed into your bloodstream, caffeine makes its way to your brain. Once there, it increases the amount of dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters. This improves brain function, leading to everything from higher energy levels to better moods and memory.
A cup of coffee contains much more than just caffeine. It also comes loaded with nutrients, including:
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B5
While it might not contain vast amounts of these nutrients, they add up quickly—especially if you drink more than one cup of coffee throughout the day.
Decreased risk of certain diseases
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to dementia. Although it’s common in the elderly, several studies indicate that coffee drinkers have a much lower chance of developing the disease (1).
In addition to helping prevent Alzheimer’s, coffee can also help reduce your chances of developing other diseases, like Parkinson’s (2).
Of course, one of the downsides of having increased energy levels is that it can often make sleeping difficult.
Higher levels of caffeine intake can make falling and staying asleep difficult. While low to moderate levels of caffeine intake don’t affect most people as severely, it’s still important to be aware of when you drink coffee.
Try to avoid drinking coffee later than the early afternoon. Doing so can make it difficult to fall asleep—even if your bedtime is hours and hours later!
While caffeine works to increase alertness, it also releases adrenaline. When too much energy gets released, it can lead to nervousness and anxiety.
While it usually takes a few cups of coffee for people to feel jittery or anxious, remember that everyone’s different. For some people, all it takes is a single cup to start experiencing the adverse side effects of the “fight-or-flight” hormone.
Remember that caffeine is a drug. While it can bring about some positive health benefits, it’s easy to become addicted to it over time.
While caffeine addiction is quite different from an amphetamine or cocaine addiction, it still affects your brain’s chemicals in a similar way. In extreme cases, caffeine withdrawal can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other side effects.
The caffeinated takeaway
In moderate amounts, coffee is a fantastic way to increase your energy levels, reduce your risk of developing certain diseases, and provide your body with a decent amount of essential nutrients.
Just be aware of some of the downsides of caffeine. You don’t want to become dependant on it!