B - Brain Power
The Brain. A wonderful organ and my personal favourite at that. Composed of 100 billion neurons and a trillion glial cells, the brain is at constant work processing about 70,000 thoughts per day. It consists of around 150,000 miles of blood vessels which can send and receive information at 260 miles per hour.
It is also the only thing that we know to have named itself... think about that for a little while.
We all have brains, and most of us actually use them. ‘But what does coffee have to do with brain power?’ (I’ll imagine that you asked me this question so that I can answer appropriately).
Coffee has a lot to do with brain power, thank you so much for asking!
Early in the morning, risin’ to the street, many of us need coffee before strapping shoes on our feet.
Our attention span is down, our reaction time is a little off, and our vigilance leaves much to be desired. Chuck some warm coffee onto your brain and voila! The caffeine found in coffee increases blood flow to the brain, firing up that old melon more quickly than normal! Caffeine has been shown to improve function of selective attention, task switching, conflict monitoring, and response inhibition. (1)
It isn’t just a tasty way to start the day, but an intelligent way to begin the grind too.
Another short-term benefit of coffee on the brain is that it prevents a sneaky little chemical called adenosine. Adenosine is usually released by brain cells when we’re overworked, fatigued, or as some like to say, ‘in the process of executing a brain fart’. This may be perfect for when you’re at home watching The Kardashians vs. Hulk Hogan (which should exist as I would pay good money to see Kim take a leg drop from the Hulkster). But, not so perfect when you’re about to have that meeting, with that boss, of that company, which is running that thing that you’re really interested in becoming a part of.
Coffee steps in with its cape and temporarily blocks sneaky adenosine from bringing you down to a siesta in the waiting room. A cup before that meeting will make you alert, ready, and on top of your game when receiving those rapid-fire questions. Thanks Captain Coffee. (2)
Short-term benefits are lovely. Long-term benefits matter. We all want to work towards the long term, right? Good health is an investment for the future; so, does coffee really help your brain in the grand scheme of things?
I’m sure you’ve heard of Alzheimer’s right? Alzheimer’s disease begins mild, but progressively worsens by deeply affecting memory and cognitive function. I saw all I needed to see about this disease in a film named ‘Still Alice’ starring Julianne Moore. It’s not nice and although coffee cannot prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it can certainly slow down its effects.
Researchers in Universities both in Miami and South Florida have found that people older than 65 with a higher level of caffeine intake developed Alzheimer’s later in life than those who had a lower caffeine intake. “We are not saying that moderate coffee consumption will completely protect people from Alzheimer’s disease. However, we firmly believe that moderate coffee consumption can appreciably reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s or delay its onset.” (3)
That’s rather pleasant to read isn’t it? Have a cup in the morning, boost your brain power, hold off some Alzheimer’s, and enjoy the taste of the world’s favourite beverage.