Looking for a way to increase your alertness and improve your brain function? Pour yourself a cup of coffee. New research shows just by sipping the brew, you’re giving your brain a boost.
Many studies over the years have looked at the various ways coffee, the most popular beverage in the world, affects the body. The new study by researchers in Portugal has explored with unprecedented detail how drinking coffee changes brain networks. The takeaway message is that science now knows better how drinking coffee prepares your brain for action and prompt response.
Their findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, show people who drank more than one cup of coffee a day had increased activity in several parts of the brain indicating higher measures of attention, alertness and arousal when compared with study participants who did not drink coffee. Coffee also enhanced their learning and memory.
Surprisingly, these same brain differences were seen in the people who do not drink coffee after they consumed just a single cup. This, the team said, demonstrated that it was the coffee that triggered the effects, and they can occur in a short period of time.
The study also showed coffee is not entirely a magic elixir. The coffee drinkers, especially men, showed higher stress levels and increased anxiety when compared with the non-coffee drinkers.
The researchers pointed out that their study didn’t include factors such as alcohol or tobacco consumption and that further studies may be limited by the reluctance of non-coffee drinkers to take up the habit.
Still, the findings are an eye-opening look at the “caffeinated brain.’’