Regardless of why you drink coffee, whether its delicious flavor, just a habit you picked up or love it for its energy boost, the bottom line is coffee is magical. Yes, I know coffee is what we do for a living here at Freedom Roasters, so we might be a little biased.
But how does coffee affect your body? Coffee is absorbed quickly in the body, and the first stop is the brain, where it works as a stimulant and boosts your alertness and energy levels. It also puts you in a better mood, stimulates your daily bowel movement, and will reduce your risk of gallstones.
As much as we like to boast about the benefits of drinking coffee, going overboard and drinking too much will have adverse or reverse affects from what you'd expect.
Once the coffee enters your brain, it will act as a stimulant and boosts alertness and energy.
It takes only a short while for caffeine to have an effect after consumption. Caffeine adheres to and blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is a natural sedative which calms and decreases stimulation in the nervous system. When caffeine binds to the receptors, it interferes with the sedative effects of adenosine, resulting in increased energy and alertness. Additionally, studies have found that caffeine can improve memory recall.
Drink too much coffee and you will see an increase in insomnia.
If you drink coffee later in the day, it can make it harder to fall asleep at night. This is especially true if you already have trouble sleeping. Caffeine can keep anyone up if they drink it close to bedtime. If you have trouble sleeping, coffee may be the problem. It is best to stop drinking coffee at noon if you want to sleep at night. If you cannot function without coffee in the morning, this is a sign that your sleep habits need to be improved.
This is because caffeine will stay in your body for hours on top of hours.
In most people, the time it takes for caffeine levels to drop by 50% is 4 to 6 hours. "On average, it takes about 6 hours for the body to reduce the amount of caffeine in our blood by half," she explains. So if you drink a 200 mg cup at 9 AM, by 3 PM you'll have 100 mg left, and by 9 PM you'll have 50 mg. Keep in mind that this is just an average- how quickly you metabolize caffeine can vary depending on your individual body chemistry and genetics.
Coffee or caffeine will also impact your pleasure centers, which can improve your mood and keep you hooked.
Like most drugs, caffeine in coffee increases the levels of the feel-good chemical dopamine in our brains. (Other stimulants like cocaine have the same effect, but just much stronger.) This can improve our moods and increase happiness. But for daily drinkers, this can create dependence, resulting in withdrawal symptoms when you go without—it's why habitual users tend to wake up grumpy and get headaches if they don’t get their fix.
On the flipside, too much coffee can put you in a bad mood and negatively affect your mental health.
High doses of caffeine can affect your brain chemistry, causing nervousness and jitteriness. Studies have shown that high doses of caffeine can increase anxiety and panic attacks. Those who already struggle with these mental health challenges are more sensitive to the mood-altering effects of caffeine.
Going overboard with the coffee intake can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
Studies have suggested that coffee increases heart rate, thanks to caffeine's impact on hormones and neurotransmitters. But drinking coffee in moderation—one to three cups per day–shouldn't have a noticeable impact on a healthy adult. According to the Mayo Clinic, some habitual drinkers may have a slightly higher blood pressure, while others develop a tolerance and are not affected in the long term. There isn't a clear explanation as to why caffeine causes this increase in blood pressure, but it's likely due to increased adrenaline and other hormonal responses brought on by the stimulant.
Coffee will also stimulate your daily bowel movement and decrease your chances of gallstones.
Do you find that you have to visit the restroom more often after drinking coffee? Some experts say this is because caffeine has a direct effect on the muscles in the colon, causing them to contract and prompting bowel movements. Additionally, if you drink coffee that is hot, the warmth of the liquid itself can help relax the colon and cause muscle contractions, furthering the laxative effect. When the muscles in the gallbladder are specifically stimulated, it increases emptying, which can reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
Coffee will not cause dehydration.
If you were to drink a large amount in one day, say 8 cups (which is not recommended), and have no other fluids all day, you might experience slight dehydration. But coffee contains a lot of water, and it contributes to your daily fluid intake just like a plain glass of water would.
Not a magic weight loss pill but coffee can reduce your appetite and boost calorie burn.
Coffee may help to suppress appetite and stimulate thermogenesis, which is the body's process of creating heat. This could theoretically lead to weight loss by burning more calories. However, there is not enough evidence to show that these effects are significant or long-lasting. Black coffee is a low-calorie way to get your caffeine fix, but it is unlikely to cause noticeable weight loss.