Who doesn’t want to be happy? It is a human’s innate desire to be happy. But different things make different people happy. For coffee lovers, it’s the cup of coffee that they sip all day that contributes to this happiness. Some may say making a cup of coffee is the reason they wake up every morning, while others say it’s what keeps them up all day. But really, why does coffee make you happy?
Join us as we explore the reasons why this is so.
How Coffee Makes You Happy: The Science
Coffee is a mineral-rich element. Most of these components play part in making you happy, but also maintaining your overall health.
Here’s what’s contained in a cup of coffee:
- 2-Ethylphenol: Although it’s one of the lesser-known compounds, it’s responsible for the faint medicinal odor in coffee. It’s the bubbling you see to the crema—especially for freshly made espresso coffee. This chemical is responsible for the alertness you feel on taking coffee.
- 3,5 Dicaffeoylquinic acid: This compound protects the body from neuron damage.
- Trigonelline: This is a bitter alkaloid that produces vital aroma components in coffee. The compound has been shown to cause memory-improving activity.
- Niacin: This is vitamin B3 that helps break down food into energy. It explains why you feel the energy boost on drinking coffee.
We know these terms can be intimidating, but you now know the chemical composition of coffee that makes you happy.
Apart from the chemical point of view, coffee is a rich source of biologically active compounds, which affect the body to make you happy.
Why Coffee Makes You Happy
Coffee Increases Your Energy Levels
Caffeine affects your energy levels, and coffee is a great source of this stimulant. It blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine, which is responsible for drowsiness.
Once in the body, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, which causes nerve stimulation and increases neuron firing—the communication between nerves. The body responds by instructing the pituitary gland in the brain to release hormones that lead to the production of adrenaline from the adrenal glands.
Adrenaline is the fight or flight hormone in the body and is made in response to exciting, dangerous, or stressful situations to instruct the body on how to respond.
In other words, coffee excites the body. But as much as this is good and it keeps you alert, taking coffee at night or later in the day harms your sleep. Taking your coffee past 3 pm interferes with this function.
Coffee Improves Brain Function
As we have seen above, caffeine in coffee improves alertness and helps you stay focused by inhibiting adenosine. This is a function of the brain. In addition, the adrenaline produced opens up the airways, helping you breathe more easily.
That in itself increases oxygen in the bloodstream and can affect the brain in positive ways. The results are that you think more clearly, help you solve problems, and make decisions faster. Studies have shown that coffee also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Coffee Wakes You Up
It’s no surprise that when start sipping your cup of joe, your brain wakes up and starts paying attention. Most coffee aficionados will do nothing before this first cup in the morning; no conversation, call, drive. Their brains and body feel like they’re still asleep. But after their jolt of espresso, or whatever coffee type, they have the hit to start their day.
There are a lot of reasons why caffeine might wake you. But the main reason could have to do with coffee’s impressive stimulation that alters the brain chemistry, causing that glorious feeling of waking up.
Coffee Increases Emotional Arousal
Coffee is likely to improve how quickly and logically one thinks, which can reduce anxiety levels. The drink has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety 30 minutes post-consumption.
Research by the Canadian Journal of Psychology and Pharmacology, further found that people were more likely to respond positively to a sad picture after a little caffeine. This should be enough reason to not look at the work emails, Twitter, or news until you’ve had your cup of joe.
Coffee Reduces Depression
Coffee has been shown to reduce depression and suicidal thoughts. Depression is real and is a killer. A study revealed that 4.1 percent of Americans suffered from depression before 2020.
Studies have further shown that people who drink coffee are 20 percent less susceptible to depression, and 53 percent are less likely to die by suicide. The reason is attributed to the body’s increased release of dopamine, the chemical that makes you feel happy.
Coffee Helps Build Social Circles and Friendships
How is it like drinking a cup of coffee while chatting with your friend or coworkers? It’s nothing like doing it alone. The element of alertness and productivity is further enhanced by bonding over a cup of coffee, especially if taken before the meeting.
This provides a platform of engagement leading to more creative processing, building social circles, and fostering firm friendships, which are all a source of joy!
How Much Coffee Will Make You Happy?
Knowing that coffee makes you happy isn’t an excuse to take too much of it. Drinking too much coffee over an extended period will make you feel more stressed, by continuously encouraging the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. For people with mood disorders, drinking high amounts of coffee—say, over four cups of coffee a day—may worsen their symptoms.
To keep the dose of excitement with coffee it’s best to drink two cups, or at most four, cups of coffee per day. That way, you’ll be sure to continue experiencing the happiness benefits from your cup of joe, but not enough to cause you jitters or increase your stress level.
You can take your happiness into your own hands. More so, more pleasantly and easily by using a cup of coffee to stimulate your happiness. But this only happens if you drink the beverage within limits.
Past the recommended daily dosage, you will develop caffeine resistance. Besides, your body may no longer experience the same elating feeling. Like everything else in life, you have to limit your coffee intake.