four-fifths of the world population drink coffee daily. While the stimulatory affects of caffeine may be fleeting, the long term affects may be linked to elevated mood levels. Research shows that caffeine enters the brain and signals the release of neurotransmitters related to mood like dopamine and serotonin. However, the long-term mechanisms on elevated mood levels are not quite fully understood.
A new study released in The Archives of Internal Medicine followed 51,000 women and tracked their caffeine consumption, depression risk factors, health, and lifestyle factors. Overall, the study showed that women who regularly drank coffee had a 20 percent lower risk for depression when compared to those who abstained from coffee. The issue is why? Well, researchers aren't very sure. I'm not saying up the cups of coffee if you want to boost your spirits - not just yet. Hopefully, research to understand and evaluate the relationship between women's mental health and caffeine consumption uncovers the truth to it's long-term affects in the body. Even if research indicated a strong correlation between coffee consumption and lower risks of depression, I personally wouldn't recommend increasing your intake by 3 or 4 cups a day. Coping with mental health issues goes beyond using caffeine stimulants to self-medicate. Surrounding yourself with positive people to provide love and support along with balancing your mental, physical, and social life deems to be a more healthy route to happiness. Finding a strong, positive sense of self-worth and self-awareness trumps downing copious amounts of coffee to reap temporary benefits.
Moderate caffeine consumption is about 1 to 2 cups (8-16 ounces) of coffee per day - which is equivalent to about 250-300mg of caffeine. So for now, I'll continue to enjoy my morning soy latte or french roast and start my day with a smile :)