To get a focused start of the day, I start with a mug of coffee – or two. It gets me going. I am sure there are many translators like me who like to kick off with a hot brew of Java.
According to a study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition last June, the caffeine in our coffee gives us not just an instant mental boost but also has long-term effects on our cognitive functions.
Another US study in the journal Diabetologia reports that your morning cuppa may stave off type 2 diabetes. People with an intake of three or more cups of coffee a day had a 37% lower risk for diabetes as compared to those who drank one cup per day.
The caffeine-brain link
The reason you get a buzz after slurping a cup of coffee has to do with the way caffeine interacts with the brain. Not only is it a stimulant of brain cells, but it also acts as a receptor blocker for a substance called adenosine. A chemical which hinders the release of excitatory nerve transmitters. Without the adenosine block, these brain-enthusing substances can flow more freely. Giving us an energy boost and which helps to improve cognitive functions and slow age-related cognitive decline.
Some previous studies have further shown an improvement of long-term memory performance and thinking ability in regular caffeine drinkers.
The oils in coffee
Cafestol and Kahweol are oil-based chemicals, unique and potent anti-inflammatory agents that help protect brain cells against oxidative stress and DNA damage. Regular consumption of coffee can keep our central nervous system safe from the many such stressors. Be sure to use a French press, quality filter or a quality espresso machine so that you don’t lose these precious oils.
Several studies have explored the effects of caffeine consumption on visual attention. Most of these studies have concluded that caffeine from coffee increases both selective and sustained attention. But these effects have a saturation point; therefore “MORE” isn’t better as the return will diminish.
What if you could learn things faster?
There is encouraging news from a recent study which reports that an intake of 200 mg of caffeine (2 cups of coffee) alerts the brain to recognise words and sentences more swiftly. The study demonstrated further that caffeine leads to improved short-term memory and increases the ability of reason-based problem-solving.
Whether you’re learning a new skill, unfamiliar technology, taking up a new hobby or merely flicking through paperwork, coffee does not only taste good, it will boost your productivity.
A summary of potential effects of coffee
Human and animal studies report possible protective effects. There is early evidence that points to activity against beta-amyloid plaque which is said to play a role in the aetiology of Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies hint to a lower risk for some cancers such as endometrial cancer, aggressive prostate cancer, estrogen-negative breast cancer, but not others (oesophagal). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances could have potential anticancer activity.
Effects on blood sugar levels and insulin seem to be transient. The regular consumption is associated with lower risk, whereby higher intake (3–6 cups/day) seems to have a greater effect. Protective features may derive from increased secretion of the hormone adiponectin. Other factors affecting insulin and blood glucose levels are also being considered.
Coffee drinking increases some factors like homocysteine that are associated with a higher risk. A moderate consumption, however, (1–3 cups/day) has been linked to a
Consumption of coffee is associated with lower levels of liver enzymes which are used as an indicator for liver damage and inflammation. Coffee may have a beneficial effect on some Hep C treatments. A few studies suggest some protection against liver cancer. Cafestol and kahweol, oils found in coffee (unfiltered), may be responsible for these benefits.
Studies report a moderate decrease in risk among coffee drinkers. The effect is less evident in women. Research has revealed evidence of activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease.
Drinking a moderate amount of coffee (3–4 cups/day) is associated with lower risk. But the chance of a stroke may increase during the phase immediately after intake, particularly among sporadic consumers.