What Coffee Does To Different Parts Of Your Body, According To Science
If you're a "But first, coffee" type, you probably have a pretty strong idea of what coffee means to you. You might not be able to explain it, but you understand what coffee does to your body from an conceptual standpoint — it brings you back to life, if gets you out of bed, it opens your ears, widens your eyes, and makes you and everyone else just a little bit more tolerable in those early grumpy moments of the day.
But without being a medical professional, it's hard to be aware of how coffee affects your body — literally, internally. The simple cup of steeped beans has huge effects on the cardiovascular system, the neurological system, the respiratory system, and the digestive system, plus psychological effects as well.
For many, coffee's just one of the many things we ingest daily and understand minimally. We know it wakes us up, but do we know why or how? We know we crave it in the morning, after a big meal, before a study session, and during a long drive — because our bodies understand what it does for us. So now it's time for us to understand just how it affects us, specifically, system by system.
Coffee causes your blood pressure to rise which increases blood flow and heart rate. This is one of the most significant ways the central nervous system is stimulated. Too much coffee, like too much of any stimulant, can put harmful damage on the heart.
Increased blood flow allows your lungs to open up making it easier for you to take deep, full breaths. Caffeine also causes the passages to the airways to dilate allowing more air to reach the lungs with less resistance. While too much coffee will trigger anxiety which will constrict your lungs flexibility.
Coffee makes you feel more alert and makes it easier for you to focus and process clearly. This is because caffeine can disguise itself as a brain chemical that can trick nerves in the brain to thinking they're not tired, even if they are. Blocking the sleepy, fog-inducing chemicals makes way for mental clarity and precision thanks to increased neuron firing in the brain.
When you drink a cup of coffee, it's possible a side effect you'll happily receive is improved vision. No, this doesn't mean you can ditch your glasses — it's minimal and temporary. Because coffee is a stimulant, it triggers the release of adrenaline which temporarily improves all functions during the fight or flight zone. The rush of hormones can cause your pupils to dilate. Too much coffee can actually negatively affect your vision, so be careful not to hit that three cup mark regularly.
Coffee causes an increase of acid in the stomach. If you've just eaten, if will help with digestion — you know, get things mooooooving. Though if you drink coffee on an empty stomach, you can get things moving a little too fast and end up with a stomach ache.
If you're a visual learner, you'll appreciate this video from BuzzFeed explaining the same effects: