Start the Day Without a Cup of Coffee? Are You Crazy?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

Start the day without a cup of coffee? Are you crazy? That is the thought of many of us who, without this drink “we feel like zombies”, without courage and strength, asleep. Despite it being a routine behavior, do we really know the benefits that this has for our mental health?

According to the American Psychological Association, caffeine is the most widely used drug in the world, consumed by 80% of American adults every day. Why? The scientific explanation is that “caffeine is chemically similar to the neuromodulator adenosine, which accumulates through the day and induces drowsiness for sleeping at night. When we consume caffeine, it binds to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of adenosine, with the side benefit of allowing dopamine to flow more freely. That can bring on feelings of well-being, energy and alertness [1] .”

Therefore, there are many benefits that coffee has for our mental health. A study done by Dr. Alan Leviton, neurology professor at Harvard University [2] , shows that coffee drinkers are significantly less likely to be depressed than people who do not drink coffee. The National Coffee Association (NCA [3] ) mentions four key potential pathways for coffee’s impact on mental health: Coffee reduces oxidation, coffee fights inflammation, caffeine blocks mood-depressing chemicals in the brain, and coffee’s impact on gut health promotes mental health.

In order to continue talking about the benefits of coffee, we must pause and ask ourselves how much caffeine we should have in a day. According to Cleveland Clinic [4] , that depends on who we are, because caffeine is not safe for everyone. Some people should avoid caffeine: children, people taking anti-anxiety medications, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and people with heart disease or high blood pressure.

The same resource [5]  mentions, “Healthy adults should not consume more than 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day. That is equal to about four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee or 10 cans of cola. Teens should limit their caffeine intake to less than 100 mg per day, which is equal one 8-ounce cup of coffee or about two cans of cola.

Now, knowing this important data, it is time to continue enjoying coffee because among other benefits for your mental health, as stated by Johns Hopkins Medicine [6] , are:

  • You could live longer
  • Your body could process glucose (sugar) better
  • You are less likely to develop heart failure
  • You are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease
  • Your liver will thank you
  • Your DNA will be stronger
  • Your odds of getting colon cancer will go way down
  • You may decrease your risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease
  • You are not as likely to suffer a stroke

Another important consideration is about coffee and psychiatric medication. According to the portal Skyland Trail [7] , “when caffeine changes the production of the enzymes that metabolize psychiatric medications, it functionally changes the dose of medication on your body. If caffeine causes your liver to produce more of the enzymes that metabolize your antidepressant medication, there will be less active medication (i.e. a lower dose) in your body.

Many could be the cups of coffee that we can continue drinking to talk about the benefits of this drink. However, as we must have moderation in its consumption, we can conclude for now, that coffee not only help us in our mental health but that the physical and neurological benefits it has are enormous.









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