Over the five years that I spent as a university student, exam period was always the hardest time to have. I wished the day lasted for 60 hours instead of 24 in order to fully prepare for the test. However, I had to be realistic since I only had 6 hours to complete the syllabus. I considered coffee and read advertisements about herbal and medical tablets sold in pharmacies which increase the ability to comprehend and memorize. I cannot deny I tried some of those tablets myself !
But is it true that coffee, Ginkgo biloba (tablets extracted from Ginkgo plant) and Dynamisan grant a better memory and induce alertness leading to a better academic achievement? What if there are some side effects?
Many studies were published regarding the benefits of coffee, including enhancing cognition, which is the mental action of acquiring knowledge, judgment, reasoning, comprehension and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. In addition to that, coffee lessens the chances of developing depressive symptoms.
Throughout its interaction with Adenosine receptors in the brain as well as increasing the levels of Epinephrine and dopamine, caffeine induces the feelings of alertness and attention. Adenosine is a chemical in the central nervous system responsible for your cycles of sleeping and waking.
However, high consumption of unfiltered caffeine, boiled and espresso is associated with mild elevation in cholesterol levels. Some studies show that two or more cups of coffee a day increase the risk of heart diseases, especially for people with slow breaking down of caffeine in their bodies. Furthermore, coffee does not have the nutrients available in milk and juices. Also, adding sugar and cream to your coffee results in an over-500- calories drink! Moreover, coffee stimulates gastric acid leading to gastro esophageal reflux (the return of stomach acid back up to esophagus causing a heartburn) and increasing the contraction of gallbladder. Therefore, those who have gallstones should avoid drinking coffee.
A lot of people say: I drink coffee, yet I fall asleep! How does that happen?
After drinking coffee, %27 of people are exposed to constriction of their blood vessels which results in a less blood flow to the brain for about 10 minutes. Consequently, they feel sleepy. On the other hand, the quick breakdown of caffeine in body causes a sudden dilation of blood vessels and increases the blood flow to the brain. Thus, it makes them feel energetic in case they managed not to fall asleep within 15 minutes.
As a result of consuming caffeine for so long, coffee addicts develop basal vasoconstriction. Thus, cutting out caffeine triggers headache resulting from the sudden dilation of blood vessels.
Caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in other products like black tea, green tea, chocolate, cola and energy drinks.