What is the science behind why coffee can affect your productivity?
Trista Best is a Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, Environmental Health Specialist, and Adjunct Nutrition Professor.
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Coffee and Productivity
Coffee consumption can lead to productivity by providing a source of mental stimulation through caffeine. While there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to coffee, most consumers can expect mental clarity, energy, and overall better cognition after a cup or two.
Coffee quality should be a consideration when opting for this beverage with productivity in mind. Not all coffee is created equal and organic coffee contains less harmful additives that could cancel out any potential benefits.
The bioavailability of caffeine can be greater from higher quality coffee manufacturers. This means your body is able to use the caffeine provided through your daily cup of coffee more efficiently, which could lead to better improved mental alertness and productivity. Some studies indicate that consumption of vitamin C may improve caffeine metabolism.
The Nutrient Quality It Provides
Coffee can impact your productivity in either a positive or negative way. This is because caffeine affects each person differently, making it necessary to find out for yourself how much coffee you actually need.
Too much caffeine from coffee can lead to an increase in anxiety and blood pressure, which can actually halt your productivity. One cup of coffee provides roughly 100mg of caffeine, it is suggested that approximately 200mg can improve attention span and alertness in most individuals.
The most important aspect of coffee in regard to productivity is the nutrient quality it provides. Fueling with high sugar, fat, and calorie-loaded coffee can diminish the productivity that would have resulted from a healthier cup of coffee.
This is because sugar and fat, especially from dairy, could lead to a rapid rise and drop in glucose along with gastrointestinal discomfort. These two factors alone may prevent you from being productive. For this reason, it is best to opt for non-dairy creamers and natural sweeteners, like monk fruit.
Lisa Richards is a nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. She has been featured on Today, US News, Women’s Health magazine, Huffington Post, Healthline, the San Francisco Chronicle, Reader’s Digest, Lifehack, Insider, and Well+Good, among others.
Lynell Ross is the Resource Director for Test Prep Insight, an online education company.
Drink In the Morning or Early in the Day
If you drink coffee later in the afternoon or at night, it can prevent you from sleeping well. When you don’t get a good night’s sleep, it can make you tired, slow you down, impair your ability to think, and hinder your productivity the same as if you had too much alcohol to drink.
A cup or two of coffee is fine to drink in the morning or early in the day, but drinking too much coffee at night is sure to keep you up, which could affect your productivity the next day.
Coffee as an Afternoon Energy Boost
Coffee is both helpful for productivity and can also work against it. The best science you can use when it comes to coffee is when you drink your coffee in the day. For those people who drink it very early in the morning, they are not gaining all of the benefits of the coffee.
The best time to drink coffee is actually after lunch, sometime in the afternoon before 3-4 pm. This is because at that time you have eaten and the body hits a slump, so that boost of caffeine can keep you going for just a little bit longer than usual. Morning coffees can lead to a crash in the middle of the day, making it harder to get back to work in the afternoon.
Dr. Bryan Quoc Le
Dr. Bryan Quoc Le is a food scientist, food industry consultant, and author of 150 Food Science Questions Answered. Get in touch with him at Bryanquocle.com.
A Natural Stimulant Known to Boost Alertness and Concentration
Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant known to boost alertness, concentration, and cognitive performance. As a psychoactive substance, caffeine competes with a molecule in the brain called adenosine. Normally, adenosine is produced as a byproduct of energy use, including muscle and brain activity. When enough adenosine accumulates, this byproduct binds to a receptor that triggers the brain to feel drowsiness so that the body can recover its energy stores.
If someone consumes coffee, the caffeine is absorbed and travels to the brain. There, it binds to the adenosine receptor and prevents the signal for drowsiness from being triggered. The brain continues to believe it has enough energy to keep working and goes on functioning at peak productivity for another two hours until the adenosine molecules accumulate again.
Elixir of Energy
Coffee has been highlighted by many drinkers as the elixir of energy. It wakes you up from the state of grogginess and provides you the boost of energy your body needs. The simple reason behind this is the caffeine component of coffee. Caffeine is a kind of stimulant that when consumed, binds with the adenosine receptors found in the brain. It keeps adenosine out of your system, and this gives you the feeling of wakefulness and energy.
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