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The Brain-Boosting Effects of Coffee

By Chris Brown

There is no better start to a productive day, in my humble opinion, than a steaming cup of morning coffee. It perks me right up while, counterintuitively, calming my soul. This simple cup of brown liquid is the secret ingredient to any focused morning and there are scientific reasons why. In fact, coffee may be benefiting my brain functioning and longevity more than I ever knew.

Wakens the Drinker and Increases Alertness

Waking up from a tired state is the primary reason this drink is consumed in this sleep-deprived modern world. Caffeine, the main ingredient responsible for this alertness, binds to the brain's receptors for adenosine (the body's chemical for making you feel tired). For this reason, a cup of coffee can be nearly as rejuvenating as a nap for jump-starting the mind, depending upon one's tolerance level.

Short-Term Cognitive Improvements

The short-term cognitive benefits of coffee have been shown in both objective study environments and anecdotally to improve performance. The caffeine in coffee has been used in ancient cultures to improve reaction time, attention, mood, learning, and general motor function for hundreds of years.  

Sharpens Long and Short-Term Memory

Johns Hopkins University released research linking caffeine to enhanced long-term memory. Their study found that participants given 200 mg caffeine tablets were better at remembering certain image patterns over a period of time. A second study, conducted by giving participants cups of coffee prior to memory tests, found that it was particularly helpful improving short-term memory scores during students' non-optimal time of day.

Anti-Aging Attributes

Dr. Astrid Nehlig, a researcher at the French National Medical Research Institute, stated how a morning cup of joe protects against aging-related cognitive disorders. She referenced lifelong coffee drinkers' resistance to cognitive decline and correlated it with a decreased risk of stroke, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, elderly people were not advised to avoid coffee consumption, as all short-term cognitive effects seem to similarly work for them. The secrets of coffee's ability to keep the brain young may lie in one antioxidant ingredient, chlorogenic acids (CGAs), which may protect against brain pathway decline.

How Much Coffee Is Too Much Coffee?

Unfortunately, drinking 100 cups of coffee will not make you into the next Einstein. Coffee is a drug and, like most stimulants, can make someone jittery, anxious, and sick if overconsumed. Moderation is the keyword, but moderation for one person may look completely different than moderation for another. It is entirely dependent upon the individual's caffeine sensitivity and tolerance. You will need to experiment for yourself to discover how much coffee is right for you. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Birmingham, Ala.

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