A stress response is your body’s way of dealing with a demand or a threat of danger. When we feel stressed, our body’s defenses are activated. Our ancestors lived a much different life than we do, where the majority of their stressors came in the form of predators and dangerous situations.
If their bodies did not undergo the appropriate stress response, they would likely be killed. In today’s day and age, we deal with many different stressors including busy work-schedules, meeting deadlines, and taking conference calls. Although our causes of stress are much different compared to our ancestors, our bodies respond in a very similar way.
Today’s post on how coffee affects stress levels is from Sarah, who writes for the website, We Dream of Coffee. While I no longer drink coffee routinely due to migraine issues, I know many of you do. Read on and then visit We Dream of Coffee to learn how coffee affects stress so you can moderate your intake for the most significant benefits and avoid the pitfalls of overconsumption. Take it away, Sarah.
Stress: the good and the bad
Contrary to what many people believe not all stress is bad. It can help you focus, heighten your senses, and improve your concentration. It can also help you make split-second decisions that can ultimately save your life. Although stress has essential benefits, beyond a certain point chronic stress affects the body adversely.
If you feel stressed, your heart rate and blood pressure go up. But over time, elevated heart rate and blood pressure can lead to problems with your heart or respiration. It can also cause panic attacks, the inability to focus, trouble sleeping, and changes in appetite. Collectively, these effects can lead to an increased susceptibility to several health problems including heart disease, depression, anxiety, and obesity.
Coffee Affects Stress Levels and Responses
Coffee is a favorite drink that many people use to help cope with stress (be sure and check out the interesting coffee drinking statistics at the bottom of the post). It can also have numerous effects on the body. Similar to the stress response, coffee can improve your focus and make you mentally sharper. It can also increase your heart rate and blood flow.
For the entire infographic check this article for what everybody ought to know about coffee’s effect on the body.
Overconsumption of coffee though can also have negative effects on the body similar to stress. First, it can make you feel tired and sleepy. It can even make you feel nauseous and cause changes in your hormones. A significant effect of excess coffee on your hormones is it causes the adrenal glands to stop producing adrenaline.
Since adrenaline is the fight or flight hormone involved in the stress response those survival decisions, or that initial boost in energy might not occur. Overconsumption of coffee also has a long-term effect besides modulating hormonal pathways. It can cause insomnia, leading to changes in mood or depression. It can also cause cardiovascular stress, leading to premature heart disease.
To use coffee effectively in reducing stress levels it is important to understand that when coffee is used appropriately, the effects can mimic and bolster the beneficial effects of the stress response. Since chronic stress can be very harmful to your health, consuming too much coffee may exacerbate these effects.
Recognizing stress in your life
Since your day is filled with high demands from both your personal life and work, it is important to understand the signs that you might be stressed. Changes in mood, appetite, energy, or regular sleep patterns are telltale signs that you are probably stressed.
It is also important to try to recognize the cause of stress in your life. Maybe a change in job responsibilities or a strained relationship is to blame. Whatever the reason, it is important to utilize strategies to help manage stress so it will not be detrimental to your overall wellbeing.
Strategies to decrease stress levels
There are many ways you can manage your stress levels. First, it is important that you integrate healthy habits into your daily life. It is important to monitor your diet and consume a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables. It is also important to get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Exercise can keep your body running in tiptop shape. It also releases endorphins that act in your brain to improve your mood and make you feel better. This is a great way to help you manage stress. It will also help you maintain healthy sleep patterns.
A lack of sleep can also cause several problems. It can leave you feeling tired and can significantly impair your productivity. Finally, is also important to be mindful of the amount of coffee you are consuming. The last thing you want is for coffee to add more stress to your life.
Sarah writes for We Dream of Coffee. Her goal is to spread the word about coffee’s benefits as well as the moderation of its intake so that everyone can enjoy it for what it is – a fantastic drink.
There are pluses and minuses to coffee drinking. Moderate its consumption especially during more stressful times in your life, to avoid long-term adverse issues for yourself. Should you experience any negative side effects – headaches, anxiety, heartburn, an increase in blood pressure, etc. – please consider severely limiting it or eliminating it altogether.
Okay, readers, it’s your turn. Is coffee your caffeine of choice? What’s your favorite way to drink it? What effects have you experienced, good or bad? Comment below.
|Coffee Drinking Statistics|
|Total % of Americans over the age of 18 that drink coffee daily||54%|
|Average size of coffee cup||9 ounces|
|Average price of an espresso-based drink||$2.45|
|Average price for cup of brewed coffee||$1.38|
|Total % of coffee drinkers who prefer their coffee black||35%|
|Total % of coffee consumption taking place during breakfast hrs||65%|
|Total amount of $$ spent by importing coffee to U.S. each year||$4 billion|
|Total % of coffee Brazil produces of entire worlds output||30%|
|Total amount of cups of coffee (9 ounces) a coffee drinker consumes daily||3.1|
|Total average of $$ spent on coffee each year by coffee drinker||$164.71|
|Total number of U.S. daily coffee drinkers||100 million|
|Total number of U.S. daily coffee drinkers who drink specialty beverages (lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, etc.)||30 million|
|Total % of coffee drinkers who drink 13 or more cups of coffee weekly||24%|
|Percent of coffee drinkers who go to premium places (Starbucks, Coffee Bean) when they get coffee||34%|
|Percent of people who go to lower-price outlets (Mcdonalds, Dunkin Donuts, etc.) when they get coffee||29%|
|Total percentage of coffee consumed between meals||30%|
|Total percentage of coffee drinkers who add cream and/or sugar||65%|
|Total amount of U.S. coffee drinkers who claim to need a cup of coffee to start their day||60%|
|Total % of coffee drinkers who say coffee makes them feel more like their self||54%|
|Total % of coffee drinkers who have a cup within an hour of waking up||68%|
|Total amount of yearly $$ spent on specialty coffee in the U.S.||18 billion|