5 Reasons Caffeine Benefits Brains
Did you know that caffeine is by far the most popular psychoactive substance consumed by men worldwide? For years it’s been put down as merely a stimulant. Or worse yet, some have claimed that caffeine is harmful. But research shows that far from being harmful, caffeine has many health benefits. Today, we’re going to look at how caffeine is proven to improve brain health. This is particularly true in aging brains.
Read on and I’m going to share with you 5 of the top reasons why you should give up decaf and switch to regular, caffeinated coffee (or tea). As you’ll see, you should do it for your health.
Caffeine Reduces Stroke Risk
Strokes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Over 800,000 people suffer strokes in the U.S. each year, and 130,000 of them die. That’s one death every 4 minutes!
While there are plenty of other things that you can do to reduce your risk of a stroke - things like walking, getting adequate rest, stress reduction, and eating fruits and vegetables - caffeine is a powerful ally. Research shows that caffeine consumption can reduce the risk of having a stroke by 22 percent. And caffeine can also reduce the severity of strokes when they occur.
It’s long been known that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of stroke, but take away the caffeine (i.e. decaf) and you take away the stroke prevention benefits. Same goes for tea - only caffeinated tea protects the brain against strokes.
Studies have even shown how much caffeine is needed to provide protection. It’s a surprisingly small amount. Just 1 mg per kilogram of body mass. So, for example, for a 200 pound guy needs only 90 mg of caffeine per day on average to protect his brain. That’s just an average cup of coffee! Of course, your daily cuppa, if brewed stronger, may have much more than that. Research shows that the stroke prevention benefits don’t diminish with even very large amounts of caffeine.
If ever you feel like your memory isn’t what it used to be, caffeine probably won’t solve the problem entirely, but it can help. Research shows that the benefits of caffeine on memory are surprisingly powerful, in fact.
Studies have shown that caffeine taken while studying improves recall. And some research shows that the memory boosting benefits of caffeine may be most effective in men.
According to the experts, the best forms of caffeine for memory improvement are natural: coffee and tea, for example. And, importantly, when it comes to memory, more is not better. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that downing “energy drinks” and popping caffeine pills is a good idea. In fact, excessive caffeine is proven to worsen memory. Keep your caffeine intake to natural coffee and tea that taste and feel good, and you can know that you’ll be helping your memory.
Improves Driving Performance
Researchers have found that caffeine can produce a measurable improvement in driving performance. The particular skill of importance is called coincidence anticipation timing (CAT). CAT simply means the ability to predict when a moving object will arrive in a particular location. Obviously, this is important for driving because you’ll want to be able to accurately predict when your car or another car will be moving through an intersection. But this skill also comes into play with other important non-driving activities. For example, crossing the road relies heavily upon good CAT.
Interestingly, researchers have found that CAT is most improved by playing sports such as tennis. But for those who cannot or do not play sports, caffeine turns out to be a good substitute.
Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia continue to become more common. There are many of the other things that we’ve covered throughout past articles that can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Examples are getting plenty of sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, eating dark chocolate, playing sports, and reading. But research also shows that caffeine is a powerful protectant. Although all caffeine may be beneficial, research shows that caffeine from coffee is particularly protective.
Researchers have long found that those who drink the most coffee have the lowest risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In fact, drinking coffee produces a 65 percent reduction in risk. And among those who develop Alzheimer’s, those who drink the most coffee have the mildest symptoms. So some researchers decided to test how much coffee is necessary to receive optimal benefits. What they found was that 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day provides the best protection.
As we’ve seen in previous articles, depression is a serious affliction that harms many men. More than just feeling “down”, depression can be a debilitating condition. And in severe cases it can lead to men taking their lives.
Of course, like all things, depression is a complex matter. As we’ve seen in previous articles, there are plenty of social, nutrition, and lifestyle factors that can influence depression. But research shows that caffeine is one thing that can help.
One Harvard study found that drinking 4 cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of becoming depressed by 20 percent. And drinking 4 cups of coffee per day can reduce the severity of depression when it happens as well.
Caffeine has long been the substance that people love to hate. But now you have lots of good reasons not to hate it at all. Instead, caffeine is a powerful, health promoting substance that can protect the brain.
As we’ve seen, natural caffeine is best. So stick to naturally caffeinated coffee or tea. For optimal brain protection, 3 to 5 cups of coffee, or about 400 mg of natural caffeine per day is best. More isn’t necessarily better. Listen to your body’s needs when it comes to how much and how often to consume caffeine. But if you enjoy a daily cuppa (or two, or five), you can relish in the fact that it’s good for your brain.