Why you might want to skip your morning coffee
Posted On July 26, 2021
A new study has found that having a cup of coffee every day can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found that people who took regular breaks to eat were much less likely to be irritable or depressed.
The findings have prompted scientists to explore what it might mean for our health.
The results of the study also suggest that the caffeine we ingest affects the brain, particularly in areas related to learning and memory, and that this can have profound effects on the brain.
The researchers used brain scans to measure brain activity in people who had been taking a regular morning coffee and those who were skipping their coffee.
“When we take a break, the brain releases oxytocin, which has been shown to be helpful for people who are struggling with emotional distress,” study author Dr Laura Wittenberg said.
“But in the brain the brain isn’t really made for doing the same thing.”
There are brain areas that work in conjunction with the rest of the brain to help us deal with stress and anxiety.
“These are the areas of the body that are involved in our ability to relax and focus.”
The researchers found that regular breaks caused the release of more of these chemicals, and the participants who skipped their coffee tended to be more relaxed and less anxious.
The brain regions involved in this relaxation and focus were not different in people with and without caffeine consumption.
The people who skipped coffee were also less likely than those who took their coffee regularly to show a change in mood, which suggests that caffeine may help to calm people down.
Dr Wittenenberg said it was possible that coffee was relaxing the brain’s “circuitry”, which controls our emotions.
“It might be that our brain is being activated in a way that is beneficial to us, so that we feel less stressed,” she said.
The new findings also suggested that the effects of caffeine on the body may vary depending on the dose.
“There may be more beneficial effects of this kind of treatment on the people who take more frequent breaks, because they are more likely to feel more relaxed,” Dr Wittner said.
A cup of caffeine was associated with increased feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.
DrWittenberg is now working with a pharmaceutical company to develop a way to monitor people’s brain chemistry and determine how long they take a cup.
“We don’t want to be overly concerned about caffeine, but we do want to monitor this for the longer term,” she added.