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Wake up and smell the coffee

Sebastian Partogi
Sebastian Partogi

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, February 21, 2018 | 10:25 am
Wake up and smell the coffee

Certain research studies have listed several health benefits of a regular coffee drinking habit. (Shutterstock/File)

The “coffee craze” has now come to Indonesia, especially in Jakarta and its satellite cities, with so many cafés and single origin coffee makers mushrooming to cater to the increasing demand from consumers.

According to A Bunch of Caffeine Dealers (ABCD) School of Coffee’s Ve Handojo, the trend had started in 2012 and culminated in 2014, thanks to the ABCD community that helped mainstream the popularity of single origin coffee, making a lot of people adopt the habit of drinking the beverage regularly.

He added that the trend had created a feedback loop: The establishment of many coffee shops in Jakarta and its satellite cities, in turn, also mainstreamed the café culture among urbanites.

If you are a habitual coffee drinker who enjoys the hot drink every morning before starting your day, you might want to continue your habit because a number of scientific studies have suggested that the daily intake of the beverage could give you certain health benefits. The possible health benefits listed here, though, do not suggest that you should change your consumption frequency or adopt coffee drinking if you have not done so already.

The scent of coffee might help ease stress associated with sleep deprivation

Have you ever woken up feeling lethargic due to sleep deprivation? On days like these, you might feel good by just smelling the aroma of a warm cup of coffee. According to a research study by Seoul National University, sleep-deprived rats that were exposed to the aroma of coffee experienced changes in brain proteins, compared to the rats that were not exposed.

Regular caffeine intake might mitigate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

According to a research paper published in 2012 by the American Academy of Neurology’s official journal Neurology, people who drink coffee regularly are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, according to study author and medical doctor Ronald Postuma, when people who eventually develop the illness drink the beverage regularly, they actually could control their symptoms better.

For his study, Postuma sampled 61 people with Parkinson’s, with symptoms such as daytime sleepiness and motor symptoms, for the study. They were then divided into two groups: one was given a placebo pill and the other was given a pill with 100 milligrams of caffeine two times a day for three weeks before the dosage was increased to 200 mg twice a day for three weeks, which was the equivalent of between two and four cups of coffee per day.

The patients who received regular caffeine dosages appeared to be better in controlling their movements. Researchers believe this is thanks to the stimulant effect of caffeine, which helps boost physical movements.

Daily coffee drinking might delay onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s

According to a cardiovascular risk factor, aging and dementia research study by M.H. Eskelinen and M. Kivipelto published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, drinking three to five cups of coffee per day was associated with a decreased risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s by about 65 percent in later life. Coffee drinking might also delay the onset of both diseases.

Note that the effect does not work in a causal manner, which means it is not the coffee drinking per se that helps delay the onset of dementia, but rather the intensity of activities that individuals engage in that stimulate their brains and keep them cognitively sharp, after they have consumed their daily cup of Joe.

Coffee could increase good moods and keep suicide at bay

The United States’ National Institute of Health discovered that individuals who drink four or more cups of coffee per day were about 10 percent less likely to be depressed compared to those who had never swallowed the beverage. Study author and medical doctor Honglei Chen said, as quoted by prevention.com,that coffee’s antioxidant property -- called polyphenols -- altered your body chemicals to make you feel good.

A separate study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health suggested that drinking between two and four cups of coffee could reduce the risk of suicide in men and women by about 50 percent. Researchers, who conducted the study, argued that coffee had a chemical property that acted as a mild antidepressant by stimulating the production of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.

Coffee could boost your athletic performance

Besides the rapid adoption of drinking coffee, nowadays Indonesian urbanites have adopted another good habit: regular exercise. They join various sports clubs, be it a running or bodybuilding community. One interesting note is that when runners warm up before a race they almost always have a bottle of iced coffee with them.

According to reports from The New York Times, coffee and exercise could be a good pairing because the beverage “jolts athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like distance running and cycling.” What is the scientific reason behind this? Caffeine, it turns out, increases the amount of fatty acids in the bloodstream, allowing athletes’ muscles to absorb and burn those fats for fuel, thereby saving the body’s small reserves of carbohydrates for later on in the race.

Coffee could keep you mentally sharp as well

A cup of coffee could also help you to attain a higher degree of mental sharpness and alertness.  TIME magazine reporter Michael Lemonick described caffeine’s effect on your cognitive performance: “[…] you take caffeine, pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning -- most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence.” Again, this wonderful feat is thanks to coffee’s trusty stimulating chemical compound: caffeine.

Therefore, next time you feel sleepy at work or have to finish a load of assignments within a short amount of time, the beverage might help you hit your target. 

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