The health benefits of coffee have been present in the news for ages now, but coffee may have a host of mental health benefits that we didn't see coming. New research has found that coffee might help you manage stress, avoid depression, and deal with memory loss. These results came from a study conducted by researchers from the U.S., Brazil, and Portugal; while the research was conducted using mice, and therefore needs to be replicated in humans before we can say for certain whether the findings hold up, it's still worth a look.
The study used two groups of mice: Those who were given caffeine in their water and those who drank water without the added substance. Then, both groups were subjected to stressful situations after three weeks of drinking either water with or without caffeine, which included having their cages tilted, being deprived of food and water (oh, my heart hurts for those poor mice), and receiving cold baths. What they found was that the mice who were given caffeine were better able to handle the stressful situations than their water-drinking counterparts. In fact, the mice who were not given caffeine experienced brain changes due to the stress they experienced. So, if these results are able to replicated with humans, then it seems that caffeine might help you deal with stressful situations in your own life.
Rodrigo Cunha, an associate professor at the University of Coimbra, explained how this process works to ABC News Australia. “What caffeine is doing is not making the system work better; what caffeine is doing is avoiding the system going into the wrong way of working. So it’s a prevention of a deterioration rather than an improvement.” Furthermore, the caffeine the mice were given blocked the stress-related neurotransmitter adenosine, which has been associated with memory loss to ABC News Australia, "What caffeine is doing is not making the system work better; what caffeine is doing is avoiding the system going into the wrong way of working," he commented. This means that caffeine can't be used to improve your memory now, but as a form of preventing loosing memory in the first place.
However, it's also important to mention that stress is a completely normal human emotion and reaction to duress that we experience in our lives. Everyone experiences stress from time to time but if you feel that the problem is becoming unnamable, make sure to consult your doctor about your stress to make sure it's not impeding on your quality of life.
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