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Scientists Finally Proved Why Coffee Boosts Our Mood

Ahhh, coffee – the savior of mankind! To me, nothing compares to a delicious cup of coffee early in the morning. For many people, this simple habit is definitely a way to feel better.

Recently, scientists discovered chemical compounds in coffee that affect our mood and how they work with our brains to make us feel better overall. The results of these studies explain how and why coffee can make you feel better, which could help us figure out how to use it to our advantage in a healthy way.

In this post, we’ll look at the science behind how coffee affects mood and how this popular drink can help us feel better overall.

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The Science of Coffee and Mood

Caffeine and antioxidants are two of the most popular chemical compounds in coffee. These good guys can improve your mood and boost your physical health like no others!

Obviously, coffee can give you that long-needed kick in key moments of the day. But have you ever wondered how it really works? Well, I’ve done my research! Apparently, caffeine can bind to receptors in the brain that release the “feel-good” hormone: serotonin. This one can also reduce your anxiety, which in turn allows you to focus on what really matters. Sounds great, right?

But wait, there’s more! Coffee also has plenty of antioxidants – but what are they? Basically, these are chemicals that keep the body from getting hurt by things bad for your body. Scientists have found that these antioxidants improve mood by lowering inflammation and keeping the brain from getting hurt. Simply put, the fact that coffee makes us all feel so good is no accident; it’s plain chemistry!

Of course, it’s still important to drink coffee in moderation. Doctors usually recommend a maximum of 400 mg of coffee per day, which is about 4 cups of regular coffee (better safe than sorry!).

Are there studies to back this theory up?

We live in a world full of disinformation. These days, I’m so used to reading fake news that I even end up checking the benefits of coffee – but it’s not a bad thing, right? Here are the most interesting studies I’ve found:

A study (this time from the Journal of Psychiatric Research) surprisingly linked coffee to a better mood. Over 1,000 people took part in the study, and the results were amazing. All in all, caffeine drinkers were less likely to get depressed and they even struggled with anxiety less.

SPECIAL NOTE: Just like many other newer studies, these ones have their own flaws too. In other words, doctors are still looking into how coffee affects our mood. Either way, one thing’s for sure: there ARE good benefits to reap from coffee every day!

Last but not least, a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, actually proved that coffee (literally) reduces depression. Out of 50k participants, those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to get depressed (sorry, tea drinkers!).

How Coffee Boosts Our Mood

Like I’ve mentioned earlier, coffee basically encourages dopamine and serotonin to come out more.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls our mood and makes us feel motivated every day. Did you ever have a bad day without any actual reason? You were probably lacking dopamine! Luckily, caffeine makes more dopamine come out, which can make you feel happier and less depressed.

I could say the same about serotonin – the hormone of happiness. Whenever your body produces less serotonin than usual, you feel sad and worried. It’s that simple! However, affeine can also make more serotonin come out by binding to the receptors in the brain that make it happen. This can also improve your mood and make you feel less sad and anxious. Lucky us, huh?

Polyphenols and chlorogenic acids are two types of antioxidants that are found in coffee. It has been shown that these compounds protect the brain by reducing inflammation and keeping the brain from getting hurt. This can also help improve your mood by making you less likely to feel sad or worried.

Photo by djile from Shutterstock

How the effects of coffee can vary

I’m going to be honest here: how coffee affects your mood depends on many things, including your genes and how your body naturally responses to different levels of caffeine.

For example, some genetic differences can affect how quickly the body breaks down caffeine. That’s exactly why some of us can drink galloons without feeling a thing, while others get dizzy from an espresso.

Similarly, some genes that control dopamine and serotonin can also affect how coffee affects your mood. This means that your genes can determine how happy coffee can make you; interesting, right?

But you can sort of beat the genes you inherited from Mothe Nature. For example, if you drink coffee often, you can build up a tolerance to it, which makes it less effective at making you feel better. Also, some people may be able to handle caffeine better than others, which can change how well coffee works to improve mood.

WARNING: people who have had anxiety disorder or panic attacks in the past should be careful about drinking caffeine because it can make their symptoms worse.

It’s also important to remember that coffee can have different effects depending on when it’s drunk. If you drink coffee too late in the day, it can mess up your sleep and make you feel bad. Also, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can make your stomach hurt and make you feel bad.

How to use coffee to boost mood in a healthy way

Here are some healthy ways to use coffee to improve your mood:

  • Drink it in moderation: Too much caffeine can make you feel jittery, anxious, and sleepless, among other things. To avoid these side effects, you should drink coffee with care and in moderation. As a general rule, you shouldn’t have more than 400mg of caffeine per day, which is about four cups of coffee.
  • Try to drink coffee of good quality: high-quality coffee beans have more antioxidants (you’ll thank me later);
  • Link coffee to other healthy habits: Coffee can be a great part of a healthy lifestyle. You can try doing it along with other things that make you feel good, like meditation, exercise, and spending time with people you care about;
  • Avoid late-night drinking: try to finish your last cup of coffee at least 4–6 hours before bedtime to avoid insomnia, a bad mood, or restlessness;
  • Try different ways to brew your coffee: my dear readers, don’t be afraid to experiment different techniques to find the perfect flavor and texture for your taste;
  • Use coffee to stay mindful: take a moment to enjoy the coffee’s smell, taste, and feel and really soak it all in!

By using these tips, you can use coffee to boost your mood in a healthy way while also enjoying all of its delicious benefits.


The primary active ingredient in coffee, caffeine, works by binding to receptors in the brain that are responsible for the release of dopamine and serotonin (your feel-good hormones). This increases the release of dopamine and serotonin, which can improve mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. What’s more, caffeine blocks the receptors for adenosine and thus promotes wakefulness and alertness which can improve mood.

Coffee contains antioxidants such as polyphenols and chlorogenic acids, which have a protective effect on the brain by reducing inflammation and protecting the brain from damage. The post also highlighted that the effects of coffee can vary depending on factors such as genetics and individual tolerance, and it’s important to consume coffee mindfully and in moderation to avoid negative side effects.

Are you a coffee lover? Then this might be for you!

Read also: These 6 Delicious Tea Flavors Help You Meditate, Experts Say

Passionate about cognitive psychology and data research, Tudor aims to highlight the importance of prioritizing self-care regardless of age, gender, or nationality. For over two years, he has been prioritizing extensive research in mindfulness and meditation techniques delivered to everyday people in a simple, meaningful manner.

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