web analytics

Can Coffee Make You Smarter? A Fairytale or Reality?

Can Coffee Make You Smarter? A Fairytale or Reality?

A question that popped into my head the other day: Can coffee make you smarter? Or does it take a smart person to drink coffee? A few years ago, coffee was pretty much banned in my environment because it would be bad for us. Nowadays we are obliged to drink it again because it would serve us so well.

My morning coffee is almost sacred. I have 2 cups of black coffee before 11 am and enjoy that immensely. With or without health benefits. 🙂

That used to be different when I was younger. Then I drank coffee all day long, even in the evenings, without giving it much thought. It was just a drink. I can’t even recall if it affected my sleep back then. 

Reasons to drink coffee

  • Coffee tastes good, it’s delicious. Yes, I know, this is my opinion, not a fact; 🙂
  • It’s good for our health;
  • The caffeine in coffee makes us smarter;
  • Having a coffee with friends is a great social event;
  • Drinking coffee, moreover all the fancy kinds of coffee, has become a culture.

Health claims

1. Coffee gives us energy

This is because coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, which blocks an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain with a stimulating effect as a result. 

2. Drinking coffee improves our brain

I love my morning coffee

Studies show that coffee can improve various areas of brain functions, such as alertness, memory, reaction speed and general cognitive functions. Yes, coffee might make us smarter!

Brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other types of dementia are developed less or slower in people who drink coffee, these studies show.

3. Physical performance

Where watermelon can be beneficial against stiffness, a strong coffee half an hour before you go to the gym could significantly improve our physical performance. 

4. Burns fat and speeds up our metabolism

Caffeine is one of the few natural substances proven to help burn fat. Research also shows that caffeine can boost metabolism. Together with the absence of calories in coffee this is great if we want to lose weight.

5. Protection of the liver

Coffee drinkers are less likely to develop cirrhosis. Even liver cancer is less common among coffee drinkers.

6. Life-extending

Some studies claim that drinking coffee protects against premature death. With all the health claims that have been attributed to coffee we can assume that coffee helps us to live longer.

7. Great source of essential nutrients and antioxidants

For some people, their daily cup of coffee is one of the healthiest aspects of their diet, as coffee contains a huge amount of antioxidants. Not everybody eats enough fruits and vegetables, so it is good they at least drink coffee. Coffee is more than just black water. It contains many nutrients such as vitamin B2, vitamin B5, magnesium, potassium and nicotinic acid. 

When is it better to skip coffee?

Coffee bush

1. Headache and high blood pressure

Coffee can lead to headaches and migraines and your blood pressure can rise from too much caffeine. Some studies show that strokes are less common in coffee drinkers. However, be careful with coffee when you have a high blood pressure.

2. Getting too much caffeine?

Do you drink more than 3 cups of coffee a day? It might lead to consuming too much caffeine. If you are feeling restless, anxious or even don’t sleep well, you’d better drink less coffee or skip it for a while.

3. Dehydrates

Consider drinking a glass of water with each cup of coffee you take, because coffee dehydrates the body.

4. Addictive

Coffee is addictive. Do you want proof? If you drink 4 or more cups daily and suddenly stop, you will get withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, trembling and reduced concentration. Hmm, maybe it’s better not to stop abruptly, but do consider reducing your coffee intake gradually.

How to drink our coffee?

How do you drink your coffee?

There are almost as many different coffees as there are coffee drinkers. Most people will have a preferred way to have their coffee made.

In the Netherlands it is custom to first ask visitors if they want a cup of coffee before a meeting starts. People drink it black, with sugar, with milk, or with milk and sugar. And of all the clients I offered coffee there was just one that changed the additions depending on his mood of that day. Everyone else always had it the same time and again.

I am no different. I drink my coffee black and have done that since my early thirties.

Fun facts

Cultural differences

In an article about communication I wrote for AGE with CARE I tell a story about differences in culture. When we as Dutch invite somebody for a drink in the morning, we ask them to come and have a coffee with us. Even when we will drink tea then.

It’s probably comparable to the English having supper in the afternoon, which is almost a complete meal, but still called ‘having tea’.

By the way, I always thought South Europeans drank loads of coffee, but on writing this article I discovered that Northern Europeans surpass them by far. Especially the Finns, who are in the lead, but also in the Netherlands, more coffee is consumed on average than in Spain.

The only period I went without my daily coffee was our first holiday in the USA. Sorry, my American fiends, but I really disliked the weak brew that goes under the name of coffee there. It’s funny because the coffee I order over here in Spain is called un café americano. This is the way-too-strong Spanish espresso with added hot water. Perfect for me, but as you can guess, still too strong for Americans.

Coffee grounds is great in the compost heap

Coffee is good for your garden

We have our own compost pile and coffee is a good addition to that. We want our heap to be as organic as possible so I remove the paper. Not because of the paper, although the bleach used to whiten the paper is not that good, but because of the plastic particles in the glue.

Coffee beans are not beans at all

Although we call them beans, coffee is actually a fruit. Coffee beans are the roasted seeds of a berry kind.

Fairytale or reality

Can coffee make you smarter? The answer lies of course in the way we drink our coffee. Occasionally a massive intake because we need to stay awake won’t harm us. A daily usage of more than 3 cups probably will.

And it also depends on the additions. Loads of sugar or a lot of added milk won’t do you much good either.

Enjoy your daily coffee and take it with care. 🙂

How do you drink your coffee? Tell us in the comment box.

18 thoughts on “Can Coffee Make You Smarter? A Fairytale or Reality?”

  1. I love coffee and rarely drink tea. My favourite brew is cafe americano which I drink about twice a day. I also drink a quality instant coffee a few times a day as well, but that’s not nearly as strong. It’s so good to hear of all the health benefits, especially as it contains antioxidants. It certainly helps keep you alert and I’ve never had trouble sleeping after drinking a cup late at night. Thanks for sharing:)

    Reply
    • Lucky you, Kathy, that it doesn’t infect your sleep! If I would drink as much as you do, I couldn’t sleep all night 🙂
      Be aware that at some point the health benefits turn around in the wrong direction, if you drink too much coffee. “Too” is really good!

      Reply
  2. Hmmmmm, coffee!
    I love it, but not because of the taste. It’s the social aspect of going to a nice cafe and just hanging out with good friends for a couple of hours that appeals to me. If no friends are available, cafes are a great place to just ‘people watch!’ Always something of interest going on 🙂
    I’m lucky in the respect that I can drink 2 or 3 cups every day, and then decide to have a few days without coffee, and I do not suffer with-drawl symptoms…. so not adicted, yet!
    I didn’t know that it is a fruit that produces the beans.
    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Yes! The best pasttime – watching other people. 🙂 I totally agree with you, Andrew!
      2 to 3 cups is not a quantity that will get you addicted, so don’t worry!

      Reply
  3. Love this post. I love my coffee too. No matter how strict my family’s budget is, I make it a priority to buy good organic coffee.
    I ditch the coffee last year because I got to a point of getting addicted. The withdrawal was bad but I did managed with lots of fluid and rest. Now I try to drink coffee as leisurely as I can.
    Would really love to try un café americano!

    Reply
    • Great you were able to withdraw from the addiction, Sarina.
      I wish I could say a café americano is extra special, but it isn’t. It’s just the drinkable kind for me. Not like all those fancy coffees I hear mention at times at Starbucks.
      I like my coffee at home the most. 😀

      Reply
  4. Not so long ago I decided to try my coffee exactly how my husband has his every morning, it’s a cappuccino with an extra spoon of coffee and 2 sugars and extra milk in a large mug! I now can’t start the day without it!
    This is the only coffee of the day I drink, I know its weird but I love it!

    Reply
    • I am not sure why it would be weird, Amy? Especially if you restrict it to one cup a day and don’t have anymore sugar or milk that day, you’ll be fine. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Can coffee make you smarter? I don’t know, but I’m sure that lack of coffee makes me a lot dumber lol!

    All kidding aside, coffee is like a superdrug for me. It helps me focus, it helps me lift more in the gym it helps me burning fat. And apparently protects my brain as well!

    But here’s the kicker. It’s hard to find a balance some times. Caffeine seems to have a really fastly diminishing returns. A cup in the morning and a cup before a workout is great. 6 large cups a day every chance you get and you just get anxious, agitated and more tired.

    Unfortunately I often find my in the latter situation and then I know it’s a time to wean off a bit. Thanks for the great read!

    Reply
    • LOL, Chuck, yes, you have to watch what you’re doing 🙂 One can grow accustomed to coffee real quick. And like any addiction, then you’re in trouble!

      Reply
  6. Oh, I love coffee. Not simply love, but loooooooove! It was a love at first sip, many decades ago, I have to say. And it is an undisturbed love even now. I’m also lucky enough to have been recommended to drink it, as my blood pressure has been chronically low my whole life. Well, except while I was pregnant, when was also the only period I wasn’t happy with the taste of coffee.
    When I was young(er), I used to have very strong brewed, plain, sugar-and milkless coffee, around 7-8 of 250ml mugs, but when it started to interfere with my digestion too often, I had to cut it back to two per day. That’s where I am today. Although I can’t start the day with it anymore, due to my thyroid medicine, which likes to be the first in stomach and wants to be left alone for at least an hour or two. Still, having those two cups of coffee are one of the few highlights of my day. And it really doesn’t matter whether it makes me smarter or not, it makes me quite satisfied. 😉

    Reply
    • My thoughts exactly, Kerryanne, as long as it tastes good, the benefits are just a nice side effect.
      Isn’t it strange how pregnancy can affect our taste?
      You drank a lot! That was about 2 liter, wow. My mother would say, careful, because you will end up all black inside 😀

      Reply
  7. I must say after reading your post on if coffee makes you smarter or not. I feel the need to have some coffee now, lol. I absolutely love the coffee aroma and find it very pleasing but coffee or any other caffeinated beverage do not agree with my system, but I can have a cup here an there. I was aware of some of these health benefits before such as that it makes you more alert and smarter. But did not know it also increase the high blood pressure.

    Thanks for another interesting article on the health benefits of coffee and how best ways to consume it.

    Reply
    • It seems to me a simple decision, Habib – if your body doesn’t agree with certain food or beverage, it is just not good for you. Our cells know better usually what’s good for us, than our brain does 🙂

      Reply
  8. Hello! I LOVE coffee! Yes I am from America but I love a good strong coffee in my morning routines.
    I would have never thought i drank as much as I do because well, 3 cups is a minimum in my life right now! But I will try to decrease my intake, thank you so much for the information!
    Keep Being AMAZING!

    Reply
    • LOL, Brendaliz, either you are an exception or times have changed in the States since the last time I was there. Both is possible as well, of course. 🙂

      Reply
  9. When I worked in an office, I drank coffee 5 or 6 times a day. To be honest, going to the coffee dock was an excuse to step away from my desk and maybe have a quick chat with a colleague.

    Despite drinking that amount of coffee, I never became addicted to it, unlike some of my colleagues. I never drank it on weekends and, in fact, never even missed it. One of my colleagues used to get blinding headaches if he stopped drinking coffee.

    I also don’t seem to get the same “hit” from it that others do. One of my friends bought an espresso machine and a cup of coffee from that in the morning completely fired him up. If he drank any more than that, he’d start shaking, he’d be that wired from the caffeine.

    I could drink an espresso before bed and have a good night’s sleep!

    These days I drink mostly green tea which is also loaded with caffeine and anti-oxidants. Though I do find that if I’m particularly sluggish in the morning, a strong cup of coffee will get me going when green tea won’t.

    Reply
    • Lucky you, both for not getting addicted and for being able to sleep. Yet, swapping the coffee for green tea is a good decision, I guess, given the raving stories we hear nowadays about green tea. 🙂

      Reply

Leave a Comment