Coffee = Less Stress?

Coffee = Less Stress?

Coffee may not be the first thing that you think of when it comes to reducing stress. In fact, having a caffeine buzz is usually the last thing we intend when we want to relax! However, some studies have now identified that drinking coffee can potentially reduce emotional and physical stress. Coffee’s effect on brain chemistry not only keeps us alert but it can also affect neurotransmitters in the brain to help you fight off symptoms of stress.

Caffeine is also thought to have a positive effect on depression, with one experiment suggesting that caffeine can prevent brain receptors from responding to stressful situations.

They found that while caffeine usually blocks adenosine receptors from activating sleep processes, it also prevents receptors from reacting to and causing a stress response such as a bad mood, memory problems, and the likelihood of depression.2This means that stress responses don’t occur as easily as they would if caffeine wasn’t consumed.

What’s more caffeine is also thought to be potentially useful in helping to combat depression long-term. One study found that women who consumed caffeinated coffee were less likely to become depressed than women who weren’t.3

It is thought to do this by encouraging the brain release more dopamine into the prefrontal cortex – an area of the brain important for mood regulation.4 Dopamine is typically lower in people with depression and anxiety so encouraging the brain more could potentially be helpful.

According to BBC’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor coffee is very rich in a compound called polyphenols which can actually help to decrease blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, and increase blood supply to the brain, possibly offering some protection against dementia.