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Surprising Brain Benefits of Coffee

As if you need any more reasons to drink coffee, it seems the benefits of coffee just keep adding up well beyond being good to the last drop. From overall health improvements to releasing chemicals and micronutrients in the brain, the benefits of coffee continue to put up points in the “win” column. Since its discovery in the mid-15th century, drinking coffee has created a worldwide culture of flavor exploration.

To drink coffee is to love coffee. Sixty-four percent of Americans consume coffee every day, and they cannot be wrong. The benefits of coffee are well-known, and as coffee lovers expand their flavor profiles and knowledge of coffee origins, it’s safe to say they are well aware of its positive impacts. From the tips of your toes to the top of your head, drinking coffee has benefits that will more than justify your subscription service and collection of custom coffee brewing equipment.

What are the Health Benefits of Coffee?

Barista grinds coffee beans

Beyond jump-starting our day and getting us out the door with a little pep in our step, coffee contains more than 1,000 compounds (between 25 and 35 are responsible for coffee aroma!) that can positively affect the body. These compounds include stimulants and antioxidants that are known to have health-boosting effects. The most commonly studied compounds are caffeine and polyphenols.

General Health Benefits

  • Decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  • Safeguard the liver
  • Promote heart health

What are the Benefits of Coffee for the Brain?

The benefits of coffee on the brain are of particular interest. With an estimated 6.5 million Americans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in 2022, the time to be concerned about brain health is now. Studies on individuals with mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to severe dementia, show that caffeine amounts equal to three cups of coffee made them far less likely to develop full-blown dementia than those who consumed little to no caffeine.

What is the Caffeine-Brain Benefit Connection?

Person fills a cup with coffee

It appears caffeine plays a significant role in protecting the brain. Caffeine affects the central nervous system in a variety of ways. Primarily, caffeine can disrupt adenosine, a cell chemical that can start a chain reaction leading to a disruption of neuron function and neurodegeneration that eventually results in dementia.

But first, adenosine competes with caffeine to bind to the same receptors. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and, as it builds up during the day, makes you drowsy. When caffeine is present in the brain, it prevents adenosine from binding to receptors, which slow down neural activity and, instead, keeps you alert.

Good Compounds in Coffee

  • Serotonin
  • Acetylcholine
  • Polyphenol
  • Trigonelline

It is important to note that not every substance in coffee is helpful. For example, unfiltered coffee contains natural oils that increase LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels. High LDL levels can potentially result in the thickening and hardening of the artery walls, including those in the brain. 

Do You Get Antioxidants When You Drink Coffee?

Friends toast with their cups of coffee

For those that drink coffee, they are consuming the number one source of antioxidants in their daily diet – by a landslide. Coffee is the most antioxidant-rich beverage by far at 200-550 mg/cup, with tea a close second at 150-400 mg/cup. For those looking for one more reason to drink that second glass of red wine with dinner, you will contribute 150-400 mg/glass to your total daily antioxidant intake.

A Cup of Coffee Contains:

  • 6% of the recommended daily allowance of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • 11% of the recommended daily allowance of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • 2% of the recommended daily allowance of niacin (B3) and thiamine (B1)
  • 3% of the recommended daily allowance for potassium and manganese 

What Roast of Coffee is Best for Memory?

Sumatra Mandheling Single Origin Coffee Beans in Bag

Coffee has a wide variety of chemical compounds – some of which alter the flavor and some that have positive effects on the body without impacting the tasting notes of the brew. For example, caffeine does not affect the flavor of the coffee but has positive effects on the brain. Dark roast coffee has an increase in phenylindanes, which creates a harsh, bitter flavor. The levels of this compound in dark roast coffees have been found to combat the formation of toxic proteins tau and beta-amyloid that build up in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The good news is you can get brain health benefits from light roast and medium roast coffee, too. While there are some slight differences, all freshly roasted coffee beans contain caffeine, healthy nutrients, and the flavors you love to savor. Feel free to explore the world of flavor and enjoy the benefits of coffee in every cup.

Even better news? You can toast good brain health with caffeinated or decaf dark roast coffee. The brain-protecting compound is a benefit of coffee with or without caffeine. The longer the roast, the more phenylindanes the coffee bean produces.

Does Coffee Help Me Lose Weight?

Yes and no. The caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant, so when you drink coffee, you can feel additional energy and experience increased metabolism. Additionally, caffeine helps mobilize fatty acids from fat tissues, which can help athletic performance. However, the rules of moderation still apply – an overall diet and exercise program is needed rather than a plan to only drink coffee to lose weight.

Single Origin Peru Atahualpa Coffee Beans in Bag

As with all things, moderation is key, even when you drink coffee. The benefits of coffee decrease when it is consumed to excess. While you may savor the flavor of a few cups of coffee each day, keep in mind you also consume caffeine in tea, soda, and even some medications. A healthy amount of caffeine to consume per day is no more than 400 milligrams or roughly four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee.

From tasting bliss to antioxidant benefits that outrank many fruits and vegetables, the benefits of coffee can’t be denied, especially when it comes to brain health. With studies showing that dark roast coffee has the most positive effects on the brain, it is the perfect time to start exploring the flavor profiles of high-quality dark roasts. When it comes to adventures in flavor, you can find a world of benefits in a cup of Stone Street Coffee.  

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