We recently read an interesting article published by the British Coffee Association that we wanted to share with you. We're always reading contradictory information about whether coffee should be viewed as healthy or not, so this made quite good reading...

Alertness

Coffee is best known as a source of caffeine, a mild central nervous system stimulant. Drinking coffee therefore has a positive effect on an individual’s alertness and concentration level, resulting in better performance, particularly of benefit when an individual is feeling tired or lethargic.

 

Alleviating Driver Fatigue

Research in both the UK and US has demonstrated quite clearly that two or three cups of coffee and a short sleep are the most effective way of alleviating driver fatigue. We all know that many road traffic accidents occur as a result of a driver falling asleep at the wheel, and therefore any measure that reduces the incidence of this, including drinking coffee, can only be for the good. The UK Department of Transport’s Think! Road Safety Campaign gives advice including, ‘Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the caffeine to kick in’.

 

Post Lunch Dip

After eating lunch, it’s quite normal to experience what is known as `the post lunch dip’. This occurs when our bodies' natural rhythms begin to slow down and as a result we become less alert and have difficulty concentrating. The caffeine contained in a couple of cups of coffee is sufficient to raise levels of alertness, and increase our concentration, enabling those at work to keep going until the end of the working day.

Night Shift Work

With an increase in the ’24 hour society’ it is inevitable that more and more people will be required to work through the night and research has shown that these individuals may benefit from a couple of cups of coffee during the evening to help them concentrate better during the early hours of the morning. Importantly, neither the time taken to fall asleep, nor the quality of sleep, were affected by coffee consumed during the night shift.

Common Cold

Research conducted at Bristol University has demonstrated that drinking coffee has been shown to add a `feel good’ factor and lift some of the sluggish symptoms that are the common after-effects of a cold. Volunteers were tested when healthy and then again when they had a cold. The results were assessed and coffee increased alertness and performance of the sick volunteers to the same level as the healthy group.

Summary

Coffee is one of the most heavily researched commodities in the world today and the wealth of scientific evidence suggests that moderate coffee consumption, of four to five cups per day, can contribute to a healthy, balanced diet for the general population and may confer health benefits. Pregnant women should however moderate their intake following the guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency, to 200mg caffeine per day from all sources.

The caffeine contained in a couple of cups of coffee (approx 120mg) increases alertness and performance, aids concentration and alleviates some of the sluggish symptoms associated with the common cold.

Published by the British Coffee Association.