Coffee is good for you – if you drink it at the right time*

Caffeine, the main stimulant found in coffee, works on a chemical level to give you energy by replacing the biochemical adenosine, which makes you tired.

Your brain on coffee

Caffeine, the main stimulant in coffee, works on a chemical level to give you a boost of energy. However, caffeine is structurally similar to another chemical naturally created in the body, called adenosine, which makes you tired.  Similar to how morphine binds to endorphin receptors, the caffeine in your morning coffee binds to your brain’s adenosine receptors, preventing the biochemical from making you tired.

What are the health benefits of coffee?

  • Builds your adrenaline supply which increases your heart rate and allows blood to pump faster.
  • Prevents dopamine from being reabsorbed into your system, which allows it to linger in the brain for a longer amount of time, causing you to feel it’s positive effects (such as happiness) for a longer amount of time.
  • Boosts metabolism and increases physical performance/muscle strength.
  • When consumed in excess, caffeine can cause anxiety, heart palpitations, and sleeping problems.(According to Consumer Reports, up to 400mg of caffeine per day (which equals two to four 8 ounce cups) can be part of a healthy diet, however anything over 600 mg per day is too much.)
  • Helps with your nutrient intake (the vitamins B2, B3, B5, manganese, and potassium are all found in coffee)
  • Lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Helps fight depression symptoms
  • Provides a source of antioxidants
  • Can cause your brain to function at optimal levels, making you smarter

This lingering of dopamine is what often triggers the brain to crave more caffeine. (While dopamine itself isn’t inherently addictive, it does play a large role in many addictions.)

The more coffee you drink, the more adenosine receptors are formed, meaning it can take more coffee to keep you awake now than it did when you started drinking coffee as a young adult.

According to research, caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours.

  • Within the first 10 minutes, the caffeine enters your bloodstream and is pumped throughout your body, causing an increase in blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Up to 20 minutes after intake, caffeine binds to the adenosine receptors, neutralizing fatigue. Dopamine levels increase and linger, which provides the drinker with an alert and focused feeling.
  • Within 30 minutes, your adrenal glands shift into high gear and begin producing more hormones. During this time your vision may become sharper due to your pupils dilating.
  • Within 40 minutes, your body begins producing more serotonin, which improves the neuron function within your spinal cord – this leads to improved coordination and muscle strength.
  • After 4 hours, your metabolism increases, which is why you burn energy faster. Your body begins to break down stored fats during this time.
  • Within 6 hours, the liquid coffee has gone through your system and you will likely feel the urge to urinate, during which time approximately half the caffeine you consumed is expelled.

Consuming caffeine when cortisol levels are high decreases the health benefits.

Cortisol, a naturally-occurring stress hormone, has a very distinct circadian rhythm that is regulated by the brain’s central pacemaker. Interrupting this rhythm can lead to metabolic abnormalities, fatigue, and poor quality of life, (2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism).

Consuming caffeine when your cortisol levels are at a natural peak can lead to interference in the production of cortisol and an increase in your tolerance, which can impact your response to stress and will cause to you need more and more caffeine as time goes on.

When is the best time to drink coffee?

The cortisol levels in your body are at a natural peak three times per day, one of which is in the early morning.

*To get the most positive impacts of your daily caffeine intake, drink coffee between 10 in the morning and 12 noon or between 2 in the afternoon and 5 in the evening.

This will allow your brain to make the most of your caffeine surge, as it’s not replacing any other important functions, such as the cortisol release that naturally happens several times per day.


https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/morning-coffee-benefits

What on earth is a “Nappuccino”?

I always have more than one book in progress:  One for when I’m tired and need mindless entertainment; one for when I’m alert, is informative and grows my neuro-connections.  

I found a book* that addresses both and surprised me with a tip on napping. When I was younger naps were a waste of time.  Now, I appreciate the “restorative power” of catching a mid-day snooze.  Here is a good recipe for a…

 “Nappuccino”

Want to maximize your Nappuccinos? Here is what you do:

  • Find the best time for your nap. When is your energy low point? Your mood low point? For most of us, it is about 7 hours after we wake up. 
  • Create your nap environment – someplace comfortable: the floor, bed, couch, bathtub (EMPTY) –  definitely low lights and NO cell phone.
  • Set a timer, nap 10 to 20 minutes, you will feel more alert and function better, without waking with that groggy feeling.

Here’s the kicker that surprised me:

The  Nappucino

Drink a cup of coffee! That’s right, drink coffee before you nap. It takes the caffeine about 25 minutes to kick in, so you’ll get the perfect amount of napping time and then you’ll wake up with the caffeine boost.  Who woulda thunk it?

There’s also evidence that habitual nappers get more from their naps than infrequent nappers. Practice makes perfect – I’m taking a Nappucino every day until I am an expert.

(PA)

*”WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” by Daniel Pink 

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Four cups of coffee a day could cut the risk of early death by two thirds.

In “our” never-ending quest not to be bound by time/event constraints this wasn’t posted on National Coffee Day.

(I should say “my” and exonerate Peggy who is punctual and remembers special occasions)

I drink a cup of coffee every morning but according to researchers I need to drink more so I can live a few months longer than I otherwise would . . . .

“People who drank at least four cups of coffee a day were 65 per cent less likely to die during the study than those who never drank it, adjusting for lifestyle and class. The risk of dying early was 25 per cent lower for each extra two cups drunk, according to the results presented at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona.”

Photo by Betty Rawlings

(Thanks Betty for permission to use your great photo!)

“Although the results do not prove that the drink benefits health directly, they come a month after two large studies found that coffee drinkers were less likely to die of several fatal conditions, suggesting that on average they would live a couple of months longer than non-coffee-drinkers.”

“Scientists said that while they were not recommending a daily brew, it was fairly clear that healthy people did not need to worry about caffeine intake.”

“In the latest study, researchers looked at data on 20,000 Spanish graduates with an average age of 38 at the start of a ten-year study, during which 337 of them died.”

“Coffee drinkers tend to be healthier in other ways which may not have been entirely adjusted for. However, Adela Navarro, of the Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, who led the study, suggested that the anti-inflammatory polyphenols in coffee could play a role.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/four-coffees-a-day-cuts-risk-of-early-death/news-story/ac0895d91096bbdb7fc29cebc67c7ac9

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Freddie’s Food Friday

Dear Freddie Followers,

Feeding Peggy and Judy brain healthy food is my mission.  They are getting old . . .er and need all the encouragement they can get from me to eat healthy.  I have a lot of recipes and let them pick which ones they want me to make for them.  

I suspect they choose chocolate so they could have it all to themselves.* They insist chocolate is not healthy for me . . . just for them . . .

I tweaked the original recipe to make it even MORE tasty.  

Espresso Brownie Cake

Brain Healthy Ingredients:

Cinnamon – contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants.

Different groups of researchers have shown that cinnamon may prevent the formation of both the plaques and the tangles found in the Alzheimer’s brain.

 Dark chocolate & Cocoa – rich in flavonoids compounds that have been linked to improved cognitive performance in older adults. Studies have shown that cocoa flavanols improve performance in healthy adults during sustained mental effort and may also protect against stroke.

Coffee – contains anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Many controlled trials in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function. This includes memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general cognitive function 

A single cup of coffee contains:

  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 11% of the RDA.
  • Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 6% of the RDA.
  • Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (I didn’t have enough butter so I added coconut butter)
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee (I didn’t have espresso coffee so I made it twice)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened organic cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk, so I made sour milk adding a tsp of white vinegar to the milk.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I didn’t have enough dark chocolate so I added semi-sweet)
Preparation: 
  • Heat oven to 400. Spray an 8 or 9 inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Combine flour and sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Heat butter, espresso, and cocoa in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Pour cocoa mixture over flour and sugar and mix.
  • Add buttermilk, egg, baking soda, vanilla, and cinnamon and mix to combine.
  • Stir in chocolate pieces.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Garnish with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

P.S. Peggy and Judy said the cake was good but after eating several pieces decided it needed more chocolate chips.  So they poured chocolate chips over the cake.

P.P.S. Peggy and Judy said the cake was good but after eating several pieces with the extra chocolate chips decided it needed ice cream.   I’m afraid there wasn’t enough brain healthy cinnamon or coffee in the cake because they went to the store to buy ice-cream and haven’t been seen since.

*P.P.P.S.  I found crumbs on the floor (it’s humiliating what I have to endure) and thought it delicious.  You can eat it on a plate with a fork but I recommend using just your tongue.

Here’s recipe site . . . https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-healthy-foods-nutrition/brain-healthy-recipes/espresso-brownie-cake

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