The health benefits of coffee are a hotly debated topic these days. Some people talk that it is perfectly healthy, while others say that there are health consequences to be aware of.
But what is the truth about these discussions? And when it comes to your brain and cognition specifically, how does coffee affect your health in these areas?
We spoke to some expert nutritionists to find out more about what coffee does to your brain. Read on, and for more healthy coffee tips, see This is the best coffee in the world, says Science.
It can disturb your sleep
If you drink coffee at any time of the day, you run the risk of losing some sleep later that night. Our nutritionist explains why this is linked to coffee’s effect on the brain.
“One of the main ways coffee affects the brain is through its interaction with the neurotransmitter adenosine,” he says. Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “This neurotransmitter plays a role in promoting sleep as it accumulates during the day. However, it is similar in molecular structure to caffeine, which means it competes with caffeine for receptor sites in the brain. Caffeine wins and causes an inhibitory effect adenosine”.
According to Best, “this is a big reason why many people can’t sleep or sleep poorly when they drink coffee after a certain time of day.”
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Coffee can improve cognitive function
Aside from potentially disrupting your sleep, coffee has actually been found to have a positive impact on your brain health and cognition.
“One beneficial effect of coffee on the brain is its ability to improve brain and cognitive function. Caffeine promotes the release of beneficial neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline,” says Best, “and this results in improved reaction time, mood, comprehension. , and attention span.”
While caffeine has certainly been shown to have positive cognitive effects, more research is currently being done on the possibility that some of these cognitive benefits may also come from decaffeinated coffee, meaning that the antioxidants in this beverage may also be at play. big part.
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Its antioxidants can benefit your brain health
Coffee is naturally full of powerful antioxidants that are known to help your brain health. “The antioxidants and more than a hundred biologically active substances in coffee prevent damage to blood vessels and arteries, and in turn, may help with perfusion (the healthy force with which blood moves throughout the body), which means healthy flow blood to the brain”. says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDNwriter at Fit Healthy Momma.
Not only that, but Clair adds that coffee can be helpful in preventative ways as well. “Coffee’s antioxidants also fight free radicals (ie damage) to your body’s cells, possibly providing a protective effect against brain disease.”
For the most part, coffee can play a positive role in your brain health. However, these benefits will be affected by how you drink your coffee, so consider how much creamer and added sugar you use. If you have any doubts about how it affects your brain, talk to your doctor to find out more.