Drinking Coffee: Productivity vs. Health Concerns

Ross Quade | General, Health | 2 Nov, 2014 | No Comments

Caffeine is one of the most popular legal drugs out there and a major staple beverage of about 54% of Americans over the age of 18.

Most coffee drinkers reach for their first cup shortly after waking and many consume another cup post lunch/late afternoon. So with so many coffee drinkers in America (tea is the number two global beverage, water is number one) how is caffeine consumption affecting productivity and human health?

Focus and Memory

The negative effects of caffeine are fairly well-known and documented. Overconsumption can cause anxiety, dehydration, increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

However, there are also several studies that cite some beneficial effects of caffeine including one by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. This study found that consuming up to 200 mg of caffeine per day may enhance short term memory.

Lead author Michael Yassa comments,

“Low doses of caffeine have beneficial effects on attention and focus…The 200-milligram might be the most optimal dose to get this memory boost.” Therefore, using a calculated dosage could enhance work productivity. However, as stated, going beyond this targeted consumption level could result in any number of the above mentioned health concerns.

Longer Living

Drinking coffee may be a life-enhancing elixir. With these benefits it is inevitable that productivity will increase both in career and life.

Chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol found in green or unroasted coffee beans, has been linked to a variety of health benefits. Other compounds in coffee also offer protective advantages.

These include:

  • Reduction of chronic inflammation

  • Cell protection that may enhance cognition (brain function)

  • Influence on liver and fat cells which may help reduce diabetes and obesity

  • Reduction of DNA damage

  • Enhanced mood

Chlorogenic acid has only been able to be extracted from green coffee beans because the roasting process destroys most of its chemical compound. In the past, to receive the chlorogenic benefits one would have to drink many cups of coffee per day or take a green coffee bean supplement.

However, according to Life Extension, a new process “for handling coffee prior to roasting can boost the beverage’s content of chlorogenic acid and other polyphenols by more than 200%, potentially reducing the number of daily cups required to achieve optimum health.”

Coffee for Productivity Choices

Choosing how to apply coffee to daily activities may make a difference regarding productivity. For example, if someone is working a job that requires repetitive tasks, keeping focused with a cup of coffee can benefit efficiency. However, if a job requires continued creativity, drinking coffee could hamper this right brain activity. In addition, sticking to smaller cups as opposed to the larger versions that border on Big Gulp sizes maximizes caffeine stimulation more optimally.

There is also the ability to work coffee consumption around your systemic, natural caffeine production known as cortisol. This is a natural glucocorticoid (steroid hormone) released by the adrenal glands located on the top of each kidney to respond to waking up, exercise and stress. When cortisol is released and coffee is consumed at the same time the caffeine in the coffee can become less effective. Therefore, drinking coffee on the “down times” of cortisol production may be more effective. These times are 9:30-11:30 am and 1:30-5:30 pm.

Also, by adding natural sugars and fats such as a citrus fruits or nuts while consuming coffee could cause caffeine to stay in your system longer. Other factors that enhance caffeine longevity is the use of birth control pills or minimal consumption.

Too much of anything is going to probably create a health concern. Yet, if coffee consumption is applied responsibly it can become an excellent tool in maintaining health as well as optimal productivity.

Plus, it is important to note that choosing the right coffee blend also makes a difference. Flavored coffees hold potential for more chemical enhancement and dark roasts eliminate more caffeine than light roasts.

So choose your ‘joe’ wisely and you just may benefit across the board.

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