Having a fresh cup of coffee in the morning is one of life’s simple pleasures. Coffee, also known as “The Nectar of the Gods,” smells amazing, tastes incredible, is the most popular drink globally, and has a handful of health benefits.
However, as with everything good, there can be some negative side effects of coffee. Caffeine dependence resulting from drinking too much coffee can result in overconsumption and adverse effects.
After reading this, you will understand the benefits of coffee, how you become caffeine dependent, and how to make sure you don’t get hooked!
The Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee has numerous health benefits, from preventing disease to increasing life span. They include:
1. Increased energy and alertness
This is coffee’s most recognizable effect! The caffeine in coffee is responsible for increasing our energy. We will talk more in-depth about how this works later in the post.
2. Aid in Fat Loss
Multiple studies show that caffeine can increase your metabolic rate from 3-11%!
3. May Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition. It is caused by the death of dopamine-generating neurons in your brain. Studies show that coffee drinkers can lower the risk of Parkinson’s by 32-60%!
4. May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Numerous studies have shown that coffee can help to prevent type 2 diabetes. Why? Researchers at UCLA have discovered a molecular mechanism behind coffee’s protective effect. The science has to do with a protein called SHGB.
5. May Lower Risk of Liver Disease
Coffee may help prevent the risk of liver disease and lower the risk of liver cancer. Italian researchers found that coffee consumption reduces the risk of liver cancer by about 40%. It also lowers the risk of liver disease, PSC, especially in alcohol drinkers.
6. A Large Source of Antioxidants
A study from the University of Scranton found that coffee is America’s No. 1 source of antioxidants. “Antioxidants are your army to protect you from the toxic free radicals, which come from breathing oxygen and eating sugar, that start chronic diseases,” said Dr. Joe Vinson, the chemistry professor who led the coffee study.
How Caffeine Works and Why You Become Caffeine Dependent
Caffeine is a green light to our cells. It boosts our energy, increases the output of our cells, and keeps us awake.
Our body also has a red light. This red light is called adenosine. Adenosine is produced in our brain throughout the day while we are awake. As adenosine accumulates in our brain, we become tired. Adenosine is cleared from our brain while we sleep by the glymphatic system, which is the waste-removal system within our brain that operates while we sleep. If you continue to feel extra groggy when you wake up, all of the adenosine has not left your brain yet.
Caffeine and adenosine have a very similar chemical structure. They are so similar that caffeine can bind to the adenosine receptors in our brain. When caffeine occupies adenosine receptors, our energy increases and decreases our sensation of feeling tired.
When our brain’s adenosine receptors are constantly plugged with caffeine, adenosine can no longer bind to those receptors to make you feel tired. Your body responds by creating more and more adenosine receptors.
This means that you will need to consume more and more caffeine to block the effects of adenosine. You need ever-increasing doses of caffeine to function normally.
How to Make Sure You Don’t Become Caffeine Dependent
To kick a severe caffeine habit and reset your adenosine receptors, I recommend drinking decaf coffee for 7-10 days, every 4-6 weeks. I particularly enjoy this because you can still enjoy the incredible aroma, taste, health benefits, and social benefits without constantly exhausting your brain’s neurotransmitters.