Coffee lovers may not be surprised by this, but there is scientific evidence to prove that their beloved beverage has mental and physical benefits for all those who drink it. In this article, we’ll be discussing how coffee can reduce stress and boost your mood.
However, before the coffee aficionados say “I told you so,” three things should be emphasized: first, that stress is a natural occurrence in life and cannot be fully avoided; second, we’re talking about coffee in moderation; and third, additives like cream and sugar can and do change some of its effects.
Now that we’ve stated those disclaimers, let’s discuss the benefits of coffee on your mood and in relieving stress.
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a central nervous system stimulant.
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed legal psychoactive substance, and is considered safe in limited amounts. But like any other drug, it works by interfering with the natural communication between your brain and body.
Caffeine gets in the way of neurotransmitters in the brain that slow down the nervous system, causing drowsiness. No wonder you feel wide awake with just a few sips!
Not all neurotransmitters are held back by caffeine—in fact, a certain few are even stimulated by the drug. Two examples of these are dopamine and serotonin. These chemical message carriers are commonly known as the body’s “happy hormones” because they play a role in positive emotion and mood.
Another pair of neurotransmitters affected by caffeine are norepinephrine and adrenaline, both of which have to do with our fight or flight response. While you might think this is rather different from emotions, take note that low levels of these can also contribute to mood disorders like depression or anxiety.
There’s a delicate balance when it comes to caffeine and blood pressure: while some research states that coffee in moderation can lower the risk of hypertension in people who don’t already have it, other studies have seen that too much coffee in fact raises blood pressure and leads to jitters, heart palpitations, and trouble sleeping.
This debate begs the question: what is a moderate amount of coffee? Unfortunately, the answer is not so clear cut. While there is no lack of research on the topic, studies only show that coffee affects people in different ways. Some are naturally more sensitive to its effects, and like with all other drugs, people who always consume caffeine develop a tolerance to the chemical, so it’s hard to determine what works for all people.
Still, if you feel symptoms like jitteriness, palpitations, or nausea, it’s safe to assume you’ve consumed too much caffeine and should seriously consider holding back on the coffee. Try switching to other healthy drinks instead.
As a bonus, its anti-inflammatory properties also lower the risk of chronic inflammation (which contributes to depressive symptoms), and its antioxidants have a number of beneficial characteristics for your physical health as well.
It’s not just the chemicals in coffee that can impact your mood. After all, emotions are largely dependent on context. Fortunately, coffee is a social drink—acceptable and even encouraged to be taken in the presence of peers or family—which means that consuming it, especially with others around, invokes a sense of community and belonging.
These feelings are sure to improve the way you feel and reduce your stress levels, and yet they have very little to do with the ingredients in coffee—simply drinking it around people you know and like is enough!
This article aimed to enlighten you about how coffee can reduce stress. It starts with the ingredients and makeup of this beloved beverage, and ends with the simple fact that sometimes, all it takes is a good cup of joe with a friend to get you smiling.
Whether you’re in it for the physical health benefits or the camaraderie, coffee is a great drink to have in moderation. And what could be better than the best organic coffee in the Philippines, which doesn’t have the negative effects of traditional brews?
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