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Is coffee good for the brain?

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Introduction

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Several studies have examined its health effects, both immediate and long-term. Moderate coffee consumption is reportedly associated with health benefits, including a reduced risk of pre-diabetes and liver disease. Researchers have also looked at caffeine's effect on the brain and the results look quite promising when it comes to cognitive processes.

The Active Ingredients of Coffee

Coffee contains hundreds of bioactive compounds that contribute to its potential health benefits. Many of these compounds are antioxidants, which fight damage caused by harmful free radicals in cells. Here are the most important active ingredients in coffee

Coffee and Brain

Caffeine acts on the central nervous system (CNS) in different ways, especially in relation to how caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Neurons in the brain have specific receptors that adenosine can bind to. When it binds to those receptors, it inhibits the neurons' tendency to fire. This slows neural activity.

Caffeine and adenosine have a similar molecular structure. So, when caffeine is present in the brain, it competes with adenosine to bind to the same receptors. However, caffeine does not slow down the firing of neurons like adenosine does. Caffeine promotes stimulation of the central nervous system, helping you stay alert and awake.

Brain functions stimulated by Caffeine

Caffeine can increase resting brain entropy. An increase in resting brain entropy highlights a greater capacity for information processing. Caffeine also stimulates the central nervous system by encouraging the release of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, all neurotransmitters.

Caffeine can improve various aspects of brain function, such as mood, reaction time, alertness, learning ability, attention span. It must be remembered that by regularly consuming caffeine, one could develop a sort of addiction, that tolerance to caffeine over time that attenuates strength. This means you may need to consume more coffee than before to get the same effects. It should be underlined, however, that it is not recommended to exceed the consumption of caffeine: approximately 400 milligrams per day to avoid potentially dangerous or adverse side effects.

Coffee and Memory

Coffee and caffeine can also affect memory. Some studies suggest that caffeine can have a significant positive effect on both short and long-term memory, strengthening the ability to recognize images, and making memories sharper and more imprinted in the mind.

Coffee and Neurodegenerative Diseases

Coffee, in the short term, can improve mood, alertness, learning and reaction time, and in the long term, it can protect against brain conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Alzheimer's disease causes memory loss, as well as cognitive and behavioral problems. Diet-related factors can influence the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Observational studies have associated regular, moderate coffee consumption with up to a 65% lower risk of developing Alzheimer's, although the correlation is still being studied in depth.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic disease of the central nervous system. It is characterized by the death of nerve cells in the brain that secrete dopamine and are important for muscle movement. Parkinson's primarily affects movement and often includes tremors. Some studies show that coffee can help reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease, with a 29% lower risk of developing the disease. The caffeine contained in coffee appears to be the active ingredient capable of exerting these protective effects.

When it is good to limit caffeine consumption

When consuming coffee, and more generally caffeine, any adverse reactions to overdose must be considered. Moderation is fundamental, even in cases of tolerance to the active ingredients and the absence of contraindications. If consumed in excess, caffeine can cause anxiety, nervousness, heart palpitations and sleep problems. Some people are sensitive to caffeine, while others can drink many cups a day without side effects. That said, some people essentially need to limit caffeine intake, such as children, adolescents, hypertensive individuals, those with gastrointestinal disorders (caffeine causes an increase in gastric acid synthesis), prostate problems, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. , as caffeine can also cross the placenta and can be present in breast milk.

Coffee consumption is one of the causes of dry mouth when waking up.

Additionally, coffee can sometimes cause nausea.

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