Every corner you turn there is a coffee shop enticing people with their beautiful looking and a heavenly aromatic cup of coffees and teas such as masala tea, cappuccino or mocha frappe.
I have always thought of coffee as a drug that is addictive and gives you a fake wake up, but recently I came across an online article about a lot of health benefits of coffee on the human body.
Honestly, I was a little surprised to learn that because coffee has always got a bad rap in the health industry and among health conscious people.
Let’s Take A Quick Look At The Infographic
How Caffeine Works
A good place to start is by looking at precisely what caffeine does to the body.
Mostly, caffeine’s effects occur because it can replace a substance called adenosine. Caffeine and adenosine are molecularly very similar, and this means that when you have more caffeine in the blood, your body will mistake it for adenosine.
The process allows the caffeine to bind to adenosine receptors, preventing it from being effective. It’s like putting a fake key in the lock so that the real key can’t fit in.
To understand what caffeine does then, we need to figure out what it stops adenosine from doing. And the easy answer is that it prevents adenosine from making us feel groggy and sleepy.
Adenosine is a by-product of the energy process in the brain and so the longer we’re awake and more we use our brain, the more adenosine builds up.
Adenosine is a neuroinhibitor, meaning that it reduces activity in the brain cells and makes them less likely to fire. That’s why we can barely think by the end of the day and need to go to sleep.
When you consume caffeine, it reverses this effect, making us feel more awake and alert.
This then triggers a cascade of other neurotransmitters in the brain associated with wakefulness and attention – such as dopamine (the motivation neurotransmitter), such as norepinephrine (an analog of adrenaline) and such as cortisol.
The Good and the Bad
The bad news is that in many ways, caffeine acts like ‘stress in a cup’ – it triggers the release of excitatory neurotransmitters that are commonly associated with ‘fight or flight’ and this is why we feel anxious and see our heart rate increase.
This is not good if you’re someone who is already stressed at work and it means that sometimes caffeine is the last thing you need.
The other problem is that this can cause changes in the brain that make you dependent on caffeine. This is where withdrawal symptoms come from, and it’s why some people need that coffee before they can wake up.
So what should you do? It all depends on your personal biology and habits. Just try not to rely too much on your cuppa Joe!