It’s natural to hope that our essential, morning beverage is actually good for us, but when experts show that coffee benefits do exist, it’s like our prayers have been answered (thank you, caffeine gods!). So does this mean that coffee makes you smarter? Fortunately, science says there are cognitive benefits to drinking coffee, which can in turn make us more intelligent, focused, and productive at work. Making time for that morning cup of joe can prepare our brains for whatever the day has in store, and it can lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease if consumed regularly. So cheers to our dear breakfast companion, making us smarter with each sip.
Now that we know that coffee is awesome (as if we really didn’t know that before), let’s really discuss the benefits. “Many controlled trials have examined the effects of caffeine on the brain, demonstrating that caffeine can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function,” explains Lauren Blake, registered dietician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Caffeine is the active ingredient in coffee, which is not only a stimulant, but also the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. Furthermore, Blake explains that “Caffeine’s main function in the brain is blocking the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. By blocking the inhibitory effects of adenosine, caffeine can actually increase neuronal firing in the brain and the release of other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine.”
Plus, if you don’t like coffee, there’s no need to stress—tea is a great option, as it provides a dose of caffeine and boasts the same brain benefits. Simon Cheng, tea expert and founder and CEO of Pique Tea says, "There is no nutrient better for boosting brain health than L-Theanine, which is the richest amino acid amongst all the amino acids found in tea. L-Theanine boosts the brain's alpha brain waves, and when the brain generates alpha waves, we feel alertness without anxiety, calmness without sleepiness, creativity without distraction, and focus without tunnel vision."
There you have it. Tomorrow morning, sit back and enjoy a freshly brewed cup. It’s for a good cause, after all.