Many of us are addicted to coffee for reasons that go beyond aroma and taste, whether we’re willing to admit it or not. Consider this:
The caffeine in coffee taps into the brain’s dopamine stores, mimicking the euphoric effects commonly associated with harder drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.
And if that’s not enough to convince you of the drink’s powerful effect, know that coffee activates a system in our brains that secretes marijuana-like chemicals that control, among feeding and feelings of hunger, levels of happiness and euphoria.
These reasons, offered up by Dr. Gary L. Wenk, a neuroscience professor at Ohio State University, in a post at Psychology Today, help explain why 38% of workers say they couldn’t live without coffee.
And while coffee’s caffeine is not remotely as damaging to us as hard drugs, it does alter how our bodies work. Wenk explains:
When you first started drinking coffee, the arousal was all you wanted and also all that you got. Still, being more attentive and vigilant was all you needed to get through the day. As you continued drinking coffee your liver compensated for the additional chemicals in your diet by becoming more efficient at metabolizing the caffeine. Your brain also made some adjustments. Ultimately, you needed more and more coffee each day to achieve the same level of arousal and vigilance.
“Coffee makes us feel so good because it is able to tap into virtually every reward system our brain has evolved,” Wenk writes. When it comes down to it, coffee certainly isn’t going to kill you. Plus, it’s a cheap and easy way to boost workers’ performance and office morale.
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