Can Coffee Help Fight Depression?
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. In the United States alone, 400 million cups of coffee are consumed daily.
Part of this popularity can be attributed to coffee’s ability to boost moods and increase alertness. Recent research has shown that coffee has another benefit: it alleviates depression.
Depression is a chronic condition that is characterized by a lack of energy and motivation. It also reduces one’s ability to feel pleasure. Millions of people worldwide suffer from some form of depression.
It is estimated that 15% of people living in the world’s richest countries suffer from depression, ranging from mild to severe.
Until now, coffee has mainly been taken to boost moods for short periods, ranging from minutes to a few hours. Can it also be used to combat depression?
What Research Says About The Link Between Coffee And Depression
Research conducted in various countries reveals that coffee can indeed be relied upon to alleviate depression. A study carried out in Finland found that people who drink coffee daily had 70% less chance of suffering from depression than their counterparts, who do not drink it or drank it infrequently.
Chinese researchers have also found that every cup of coffee consumed per day reduces the risk of depression by 8%.
How Coffee Fights Depression
While these and other studies have proven that coffee fights depression, the exact mechanism by which coffee reduces depression remains less clear.
Scientists have put forward various hypotheses to explain this phenomenon.
The first one argues that depression is mainly caused by the inflammation of nerve cells in the brain, caused by a poor immune reaction.
It is this inflammation that causes distress and discomfort associated with depression. Drinking coffee alleviates this inflammation because it has multiple antioxidants, such as nicotinic and chlorogenic acids, which combat the inflammation.
The second hypothesis is that depression is caused by an accumulation of adenosine in the central nervous system. This accumulation is caused by, among other factors, lack of adequate sleep.
Large quantities of adenosine activate adenosine receptors. It is these receptors that reduce one’s motivation and energy. They also cause drowsiness.
Caffeine, a substance found in large quantities in coffee, has been found to block the activation of adenosine receptors. Thus, it prevents one from feeling drowsy and experiencing a drop in motivation and energy.
With all of that being said, the top coffees to try (to help combat depression) depends on your palate, and how much caffeine you want to consume.
The huge popularity of coffee worldwide has led to the development of many coffee variants to cater for different tastes.
Most coffees, however, are either Robusta or Arabica.
Robusta has more caffeine, but Arabica has a better flavor. Coffee drinks use either of these coffee types, or both of them.
Some of the most popular coffee drinks that you should try out include cappuccino, Irish coffee, Long Black, espresso, and caffe Americano.
Coffee’s smell, taste, and ability to increase one’s alertness has made it the beverage of choice for many people.
With more research proving that it can alleviate depression, coffee is no longer going to be a drink that people just take for fun, or to be alert; it is going to be a medicine as well.