The ideal pick-me-up for 61% of Americans, coffee is even more popular than soft drinks. You might even have a coffee mug on your desk right now. And you think it’s just to keep your eyes open? It might, but coffee does a lot more to your whole body, from your head eyes to your toes.
A coffee sip’s journey through your body
Let’s be honest, we’re not actually talking about coffee here, but rather about caffeine, which happens to be the most common drug in the world! And is the main compound of coffee beans, famous for its ability to stimulate the central nervous system.
It takes up to 45 minutes for caffeine to be fully absorbed in the body, from the moment you’ve taken the first sip. And it will actively wander around for anywhere between 4 and 6 hours, depending on your age, interaction with other chemicals in the body, and overall health condition.
Caffeine has a real talent to slip through all your bodies membranes, a process that doesn’t start in the stomach, but right in your mouth – and it obviously continues down your throat. Everywhere it goes, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through all the linings it gets in contact with.
Once in your blood, it reaches your liver, where it is broken down into 3 main compounds: theophylline, theobromine, and paraxanthine. And these 3 BFF start a party with all organs invited: the brain, the heart, the eyes, the stomach, the bowels and bladder, the bones and the muscles and many more.
You might hear a lot of bad things about coffee. Some of which are true. But like most things, there are pros and cons. Here are some of the pros.
The positive effects of coffee on your body
Brain – caffeine keeps your brain more alert and you should feel its effects within 30 minutes after you drink your coffee;
Eyes – caffeine makes your pupils dilate a bit, potentially making you see a little better and definitely making you feel more awake;
Stomach – caffeine accelerates gastric secretions by 10, even 15 percent, making you digest food faster;
Bowels and bladder – caffeine stimulates both your bowels and bladder, fastening the digestion process and giving you the urge to go to the bathroom.
These are amongst of the more commonly known benefits. But how about the following lesser known (and amazing) benefits of coffee?
The surprising benefits of coffee that no one tells you
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have found that caffeine could enhance your short-term memory. Turns out you could remember things easier for up to 24 hours, a conclusion that came from comparing a group that took caffeine tablets and a group that took a placebo pill.
Different research shows a surprising connection between drinking coffee and enjoying some power naps, meaning that caffeine could enhance your naps. Its effects are obvious within 30 minutes, and if you take a 20-minute nap right after you drink it (which is possible before it kicks in), you’ll get super energized after the nap.
A smaller study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, back in 2014, suggested a connection between improved exercising performance and coffee consumption. Turns out that if you sip a small coffee before your workouts, you’ll put in more effort and you might also eat fewer calories on your next meals throughout the day.
Finally, caffeine could also reduce erectile dysfunction. Researchers from the Health Science Center of the University of Texas found that men who drank about 2 cups of coffee a day had about 42% fewer chances to deal with erectile dysfunction (guys, if you’re interested, you can find more details about the study here).
How else can you use coffee other than in… coffee
So coffee is good but only in moderation. Moderation means 4 times a day, tops. After that, you might experience all sorts of unpleasant effects. But if you insist on doing something else with coffee other than drinking it, here’s some other (very surprising) ways to use coffee:
- Make yourself an anti-cellulite mask from old coffee grounds mixed with egg whites or honey;
- Sniff some coffee beans between testing perfume samples to activate certain olfactory areas and be more sensitive to the smell of the next perfume sample;
- Rejuvenate your hair color by soaking some used grounds into hot water and then rinsing your hair in it;
- Give your skin an icy, refreshing treatment by massaging it with some coffee ice cubes – it should also increase local blood flow;
- Try a different foot scrub from coffee grounds and coconut oil;
- Use dampened, old coffee grounds to sprinkle your fireplace with it – once you start the fire, it will weigh down the ash and spare you from those nasty clouds of dust;
- Set up an exotic marinade for your next grill by rubbing the meat with coffee grounds;
- Make yourself an air freshener by mixing up old coffee grounds with a few drops of vanilla extract;
- Replace your mints by sucking a roasted coffee bean and popping it in your mouth – it will freshen up your breath;
- Get rid of any smell on your hands by rubbing a handful of coffee grounds after handling smelly things;
- Make your plants blooms faster – use coffee grounds to bring more acidity into the soil of your roses, hydrangeas, camellias, rhododendrons and other plants that love acid;
- Spread old coffee beans around your garden to keep snails away from your plants – the slimy creatures hate it;
- Rinse your ashtray by rubbing it with a washcloth and a bunch of coffee grounds;
- Make your own coffee scented candle by mixing melted wax with coffee grounds and pouring the mixture on top of another decorative candle;
- Keep some used coffee grounds in the fridge, just to hide away the smells.
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Adelina writes about miles and smiles of life. She is a young journalism graduate and an online aficionado, who loves crafting content related to science and technology, health and well being, travel and leisure.