If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably know that you feel more alert and ready to tackle the world after you’ve had at least one cup of coffee in the morning. But what you may not have known before now is that coffee is also beneficial to your memory. Research has shown a connection between coffee and memory. Let’s take a look at how this works and why you might want to keep drinking your daily cup of joe.
How It Works
Caffeine is a stimulant. It also blocks adenosine, a chemical that suppresses the release of other chemicals known to stimulate the brain. When adenosine is released freely into the brain, you get a jolt of energy and alertness. Your mental performance is heightened, and it’s even possible that these effects can postpone the onset of cognitive decline with age.
Does Coffee Help Memory?
How much caffeine you take in matters, according to research. Studies show that doses of at least 200 mg of caffeine are necessary to maximize the effect of caffeine on memory. However, drinking more than that doesn’t necessarily make a difference, as participants who took in 300 mg weren’t shown to improve significantly in memory tasks. Thus, there’s no need to overdo it.
Drinking two small cups of coffee is plenty to achieve the desired effects. You do, however, want to consider when you have your coffee, as taking in caffeine more than an hour before completing tasks did not improve performance.
Coffee And Memory Loss
In fact, the study showed something even more interesting regarding caffeine and memory. It demonstrated that participants who consumed 200 mg of coffee the day before were better able to accurately complete memory tasks a day later than the control group who consumed none. Memory consolidation is the ability to retain information after learning it, and this process tends to decline rapidly immediately following the receipt of knowledge. Thus, the fact that caffeine was able to extend that consolidation process is quite significant.
Do be aware that caffeine carries some risks of side-effects. After all, it is a drug. If you’re not a regular coffee drinker, take care when introducing it into your routine. It’s possible to experience nervous energy, jitters or accelerated heartbeat. Those with heart conditions or women who are pregnant should talk to their doctor before adding caffeine to their diets. It’s also possible that caffeine can lead to dehydration.
As you can see, there is a real relationship between coffee and memory. The potential of caffeine to keep you sharp and maintain your memory is there. You’ll want to be aware of how much you consume and when if you hope to maximize the benefits. So feel free to enjoy a couple cups of coffee each morning.