Coffee. It's the preferred drink of many, especially college students. It becomes a fixated part of a person's routine, meaning they "can't even function" without their morning cup of joe. The average man in America drinks roughly 1.6 cups while the average American woman consumes around 3.2 cups per day.
And while coffee does help us feel more energetic, alert, and stay up longer, it comes with certain drawbacks.
The most important active ingredient in coffee is caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance worldwide. Caffeine interacts with adenosine receptors. Adenosine is the neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes sleep. So the specific receptors in the neurons of your brain can attach to adenosine prompting slower neural activity and sleep. Adenosine typically builds up during the day and eventually makes you drowsy.
Due to caffeine and adenosine having a similar molecular structure when caffeine is present in the brain, it competes with adenosine to bind to the same receptors. Because caffeine is acting as an inhibitor, it prevents adenosine from slowing you down and that's why you feel more alert when drinking coffee
Caffeine isn't all that worth it when you're trying to study for a test either. Yes, it can help with short-term memory but it will be offset by increased anxiety when you're under the influence of caffeine. Caffeine only improves memory if it used both at the time of taking the information in and at the time of recalling the information later. Caffeine actually worsens performance when the material was based on long-term memory storage. This means students had poorer performance on tasks free of recall- remembering information without being prompted. People also recall more false memories when they drink coffee.
But coffee still has several health benefits. There's been research done that coffee can help people recover from colon cancer, lower diabetes risk, and reduce the inflammation associated with diabetes. It can also protect against Parkinson's disease. It's all about moderation.
No one's saying to quit coffee but reducing your intake can help with sleep and memory. Likewise, cutting down from sugary-flavored coffees can also help reduce your likelihood of heart palpitations and diabetes.