Stress. Anxiety. A fast-paced life. At times, all we need is a cup of joe to make everything all right.
Caffeine Vs. Stress
Even though coffee is known to make one alert, studies from Brazil, Portugal, and the U.S. found that caffeine can help mice handle stress better when subjected to stressful situation compared to when they weren’t exposed to caffeine.
Sure, the experiment is with mice, but it has a huge potential for humans too. In the study, researchers mixed caffeine with drinking water intended for the mice. Some only received plain water. Then, after being exposed to sudden and stressful situations three weeks after they began the caffeine regiment, it was found that the mice that went without caffeine experienced stress-induced changes in their behavior. Those stressful situations were dam bedding, being deprived of food and water, cold baths, sharing space with other mice, and having their cages tilted at a 45-degree angle.
The reason for this is that while caffeine can block adenosine receptors from activating sleep processes, it can also prevent the receptors from reacting to and causing a stress response. In short, caffeine can prevent you from having a bad mood.
Caffeine can calm you down when you need to take things slow. Drinking a cup or two of coffee can help you feel relaxed when you’re anxious about finishing a specific task or handling an upcoming event. It wakes you up then makes you feel a lot more confident.
Caffeine + Dopamine
Another reason why you should drink coffee when you’re stressed is that caffeine can help release dopamine into the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain is in charge of mood regulation, and dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. In fact, it’s responsible for that feeling of love, happiness, motivation, and self-fulfillment. Caffeine has even been proven to help store dopamine in the amygdala, which is another part of the brain responsible for anxiety regulation.
According to a ten-year study of over 50,000 older women, those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee daily had a 15% reduced risk of depression compared to those who drank only a cup or less per week. Those who drank four cups or more even had a 20% decreased risk. So you see? Coffee can pull you away from depression.
While all the information above may make you want to check out the best coffee makers with grinders and encourage you to brew your coffee right away, you should know that too much caffeine isn’t good for your health. Well, too much of anything isn’t good for you anyway. But when it comes to caffeine, don’t go beyond 400 milligrams per day, that means, you must not drink more than four cups of coffee a day.