Coffee helps keep the world moving. Two out of three people use coffee to help themselves power through their early mornings or late nights to get through work.
However, most coffee drinkers will tell you they drink coffee because they like it, not because they need it to get things done. If coffee were just another tool, wouldn’t our associations with it be more functional rather than enjoyable and even luxurious? It turns out there’s a reason why people feel so good after drinking coffee.
What Is Coffee Euphoria?
“Coffee euphoria” or “caffeine euphoria” is the happy feeling you get after drinking coffee. How do we love coffee? Let me count the ways. Everyone has a different reason why they enjoy their morning cup. For some, the aroma is alluring, while others enjoy the rich taste of their favorite brew.
Many of us drink coffee for that much-needed energy boost. No matter what your favorite aspect of coffee is, there’s something undeniably great about it that makes it hard to get enough.
In fact, there is a biological reason why coffee makes us happy. The caffeine in coffee helps promote the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical in your brain, that helps activate pleasure centers in the brain.
When you drink coffee, the caffeine molecule hits the part of the brain that releases dopamine. That dopamine goes to other parts of the brain and binds to receptors there. Overall, the process produces a happy feeling from drinking a cup of coffee!
Other Benefits from Coffee
Coffee has other benefits than just releasing dopamine to make us feel happy. Coffee does a lot of great things for your body and mind. These are some of the reasons why coffee is the drink of choice for so many American adults:
Sharper Mental Function
The caffeine in coffee targets more than just the dopamine releasers in our brains. After we drink it, caffeine travels through the blood and into the brain. There, the caffeine blocks another neurotransmitter called adenosine.
Adenosine is a brain chemical known as an inhibitor. It slows down brain function, making us think and move slower. By blocking adenosine from binding to our neurons, caffeine helps make us feel awake and active. It fine-tunes your brain for better mental function.
This is why coffee helps get us through those morning meetings! Adenosine is the neurotransmitter that makes you feel sleepy and unfocused. By replacing that with caffeine, you remove the tired feeling of waking up in the morning and become alert and aware.
Stronger Physical Performance
Caffeine acts as a stimulant to your nervous system when it binds to the neurons there. When it binds to your neurons, caffeine allows signals to be sent between them faster. These neurons don’t have to be inside your brain. Caffeine binds to neurons throughout your body.
When caffeine binds to neurons near your muscles, it lets your muscles work harder. Signals from the neurons can fire faster to the muscles, allowing the muscles to react and move more quickly.
Though caffeine might not make a huge difference overall, some studies have shown that the effects of caffeine can boost physical performance by up to 11%.
Caffeine can also make its way to the front part of your brain, called the prefrontal lobe. The prefrontal lobe is the area associated with the higher functions of the human brain, like planning, reasoning, and concentration.
The study of brain activity shows that caffeine affects all of these functions when it binds to neurons in this part of the brain.
Much like other parts of the brain and body, caffeine boosts signal transference in this part of the brain. As these neuron pathways fire, the signals can move faster with the caffeine.
By increasing the speed of these neuron transfers, your brain can handle more information and a larger mental load overall.
All of these facets add up to the increased focus, awareness, and reasoning skills we expect to get when we drink a cup of coffee!
Coffee does more than just smell or taste good to make us happy. The caffeine in coffee helps release dopamine, the happy chemical in our brains that makes us feel good. When you combine this with all the mental and physical boosts that coffee gives us, you can see why so many folks reach for a cup in the morning.