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3d Brain enjoys a cup of tea

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Coffee is possibly the world’s most delicious beverage (though red wine and hot chocolate come pretty close), and it’s also one of the healthiest. Not only does it taste absolutely divine, but it offers a wide range of awesome health benefits: it boosts your metabolism, enhances physical performance, provides antioxidants, prevent liver cirrhosis, and even protect you from Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s. [1]

But what if I told you coffee could make you a genius? You’d be downing dozens of cups per day, right?

Well, coffee may not boost your IQ score, but it can make you smarter. How, you ask? Simple:

In your brain, there is a neurochemical called adenosine. This chemical plays a number of roles in your brain function, including promoting sleep, transferring energy, suppressing arousal, regulating blood flow, and ensuring efficient cardiovascular function. The longer you are awake, the higher your adenosine levels rise, which is why you feel sleepy at the end of a long day.

Enter coffee! The caffeine in your coffee blocks adenosine in your brain, counteracting the “sleepy time effects”. It doesn’t actually give you a significant energy boost, it just stops your brain from detecting adenosine–essentially “tricking” you into believing you’re not sleepy.

But by blocking adenosine, you enhance the sensitivity of your brain cells to other neurotransmitters. Your brain becomes more sensitive to the presence of norepinephrine and dopamine, two of the chemicals that help you to feel alert, awake, and active. It also increases neuronal firing in the brain cells, speeding up the transfer of electrical energy between cells. In layman’s terms, this means “more efficient brain function” .

Thanks to the adenosine-blocking effects of caffeine, you can improve your brain function (while the caffeine lasts). This means:

  • Better short-term memory and recall
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • Less fatigue–both mental and physical–while you study or work
  • Enhanced reaction times

Bonus: Coffee not only helps to enhance brain function, but it can protect your brain against degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. A number of studies have shown that coffee may reduce your risk of dementia, Parkinson’s, and/or Alzheimer’s by as much as 60%. Those are some pretty awesome results!

Of course, this doesn’t give you license to drink dozens of cups of coffee every day. It’s a well-established fact that caffeine stimulates your nervous system, and too much coffee can cause irritability, anxiety, and sleep loss. It’s important to keep your coffee to a “safe and healthy” dosage–roughly 400 milligrams per day.

Here’s to a delightful cup of coffee and a smarter, better-working brain!

[1] Reference

Andy

Written by: Andy Peloquin