We keep learning more and more about the many brain benefits of drinking coffee.
Earlier this month, I told you about how drinking coffee helps improve brain signaling in people with Parkinson’s disease. (Though, very few doctors actually know about this amazing benefit!)
And now, new research shows exactly how regular coffee consumption can BOOST your brain function and even ENHANCE your motor control.
Here’s everything you need to know…
Coffee drinking changes brain activity
For this new study, researchers investigated the impact of regular coffee intake on brain function and connectivity in healthy, disease-free men and women.
First, the researchers categorized the study participants according to their regular coffee consumption patterns. They defined coffee drinkers (CDs) as those who drank one or more cups per day and non-coffee drinkers (NCDs) as those who drank fewer than one cup per week.
All of the participants also underwent MRI brain scans. (The CDs underwent one scan during a “resting-state.” And the NCDs underwent two sets of brain scans; first during a “resting state,” and then 30 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee.)
The researchers noted that the CDs exhibited “signature” brain activity—even in their “resting state”—that suggested enhanced motor control, learning, memory, focus, and alertness compared to the NCDs in their “resting state.” (The NCDs also exhibited these enhanced brain activity patterns in their second scans…after enjoying their cup of coffee.)
And according to the study’s senior author, Dr. Nuno Suso, “For the general public, the take-home message is that we now know better how the regular intake of coffee prepares your brain for action and prompt response.”
This research certainly aligns with what we already know anecdotally about coffee…and how a few cups each morning can give you a mental and physical boost to power you through the day.
When it comes to coffee-drinking habits, moderation is key
Of course, drinking any caffeinated beverage (not just coffee) can disrupt sleep and/or cause a case of the “jitters” in some people. In this study, male CDs (but not females) experienced more anxiety (or “jitters”) than NCDs.
I often find that the amount of caffeine that causes these problems varies greatly from one person to the next. It can also change dramatically throughout your lifetime.
So, you should pay close attention to whether and when drinking coffee seems to influence your ability to sleep or make you feel jittery. Then, you can easily adjust your intake and timing. Also, never combine coffee with any type of so-called “energy drink.” (In fact, stay away from “energy drinks” entirely.)
Most people do quite well with drinking three to four cups of coffee a day—which is just the right amount to confer all the impressive health benefits listed here today.
In the end, far from being a vice you should quit, drinking coffee appears to be a safe, enjoyable, and effective way to enhance your mental and physical productivity during the day. Plus, it has many other impressive health benefits, too, as I regularly report right here in my Daily Dispatch…and in my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter.
So, go ahead and enjoy another steaming cup o’ joe today. Just make sure to skip the artificial sweeteners. And if you prefer to add some creamer, go ahead and use some organic full-fat milk, cream, or half-and-half.
“Habitual coffee drinkers display a distinct pattern of brain functional connectivity.” Mol Psychiatry (2021). doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01075-4