3 Brain Benefits of Drinking Coffee

By Kayla Joesph & Tom McCurnin, NeuroCognitive Program Instructors @successrehabiliation

In comparison to other organs in the body, the brain is relatively small in size, averaging 1300 to 1400 grams or around 3 pounds in adults with a length of approximately 15 centimeters. But don't let its size fool you, the brain is the most complex organ in our body and produces enough electrical energy to power a 40-watt light bulb for 24 hours! It is fueled by a large amount of the ATP produced in the body. Adenosine(the ‘A’ in ATP) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that acts as a central nervous system depressant. This means that as your adenosine levels increase, we begin to feel a drop in our energy level. Caffeine has the ability to block adenosine, which allows your brain to utilize more excitatory neurotransmitters. These include; norepinephrine and dopamine, which help play a role in our mood and mental performance.

For all you coffee lovers, this is all good news! Coffee’s effectiveness as high-performance brain fuel makes it liquid gold, and it’s not surprising that coffee’s primary active ingredient, caffeine, is the globe’s most commonly used psychoactive drug. In fact, The American Dietetic Association recommends between 200-300 milligrams of caffeine a day for adults, which is equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee. Consuming these recommended levels can indirectly affect attention and concentration. With higher levels of focus and awareness, an individual could potentially perform at a higher cognitive level, which may include better retention to enhance memory. Also, Polyphenols that are found in coffee and tea, also help improve memory due to antioxidant properties. These help decrease inflammation in our brain and body.

3 takeaways why coffee might be good for your brain:

  1. Coffee Boosts Brain Function and Memory.

    Caffeine in coffee acts as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. Studies have shown that, depending on level of intake, caffeine can help to improve mental performance, especially on alertness, attention and concentration. A study done at the University of California showed that adults who consumed 200 mg of caffeine before taking a memory test had significantly greater scores on function and memory test.

  2. Coffee may reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer's, Parkinson's.

    A new study out of the Krembil Brain Institute suggests that a group of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge as a result of the roasting process for coffee beans, inhibit two protein fragments common in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, from clumping (1).

  3. Coffee is one of the best sources of neuroprotective antioxidants available.

    While blueberries and pomegranates are most often touted for their antioxidant content, it turns out our cup of morning Joe is brimming with antioxidants. Research has found that it is the number one source of antioxidants in most people’s diets, by a large margin.

Success Rehabilitation is on a mission to create opportunities for those who have experienced brain injury: one individual, one family, one success at a time. Its team of specialized professionals in traumatic brain injury and neurological impairment deliver consistent quality service effectively and efficiently for patients in the Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic region.  

Its five CARF Accredited specialty areas of brain injury are offered in a post-acute residential and outpatient setting, ensuring the highest quality of service excellence. Recently, they have become the only medical rehabilitation provider and first program for individuals with brain injury to earn B Corporation Certification, verifying they meet the highest standards of social accountability to balance profit and purpose.