A few years ago I did some research looking at how different coffee drinks affect perception. What struck me was that when people drink coffee, the negative feelings tend to diminish. And I was surprised to see how many folks are able to see the benefit.
In fact, when you talk to people about their negative feelings toward coffee or other caffeine products, I think they generally see coffee as an enjoyable drink that can help improve concentration and alertness (though not necessarily alertness at the expense of other aspects of one’s overall health — like sleep or mood). For this study, that meant that nearly 50 percent of the participants reported feeling positive about their drink.
Here are my main findings on the topic.
• Most people can benefit from coffee drinking: People who drink coffee more than once a week report feeling more energetic and alert, while less active people report feeling tired and sleepy.
• Most drinks are safe: Almost all of the drinks in this study were free of caffeine.
• Coffee drinkers tend to be physically active, with a greater number having lower body mass indexes (BMI) than non-drinkers.
• When drinking coffee, we’re more sensitive to its effects than non-drinkers: Coffee drinkers are more likely to be sensitive to caffeine’s effects on cognition, sleep, pain and anxiety than non-drinkers.
• Caffeine can help with memory: Coffee seems to help improve cognitive performance while helping people to remember things more easily, and can help increase the amount of time people spend with friends in general.
There’s more. In addition to the findings in this study, I also reviewed research on whether a drink can be beneficial to the heart, and found no compelling reason why coffee drinks should ever be avoided — especially if they’re a healthy choice.
I’m glad I did that. The data in this study is solid enough to warrant recommending coffee and other caffeine products to anyone seeking the benefits of these drinks.