Coffee May Lower Your Risk For Depression and Parkinson’s Disease
Coffee, depression and Parkinson’s…I love coffee, but have not been drinking it much for quite a while now. Part of my “clean eating” regimen.
I recently read, however, that coffee and other caffeinated beverages are believed to decrease your risk of depression. This was according to a research study published in the journal Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. I also read where coffee may reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease and may actually help with suppressing symptoms if you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Because my father lived and died with Parkinson’s Disease, I am acutely aware of everything that might ward it off. If it’s a cup of coffee, which I’ve always loved, so much the better.
The article I read concerned me though for a variety of reasons. First of all, not all caffeinated beverages are created equal. The sodas that have caffeine are still loaded with sugar and chemicals. If they’re artificially sweetened, that’s not good for us either. Did you know artificial sweeteners actually slow down your metabolism? If you’re prone to depression, a serving or two can bring on a bout of the blues. The “energy drinks” that are so popular now are loaded with sugar and chemicals and are not a healthy choice either.
Caffeine is apt to cause other changes in the body as well. Some changes include its effect on mood. Probably the most obvious effect of caffeine is that it gives you more energy and improved focus; research has shown that it can improve performance in easy tasks.
Caffeine acts by stimulating the nerve cells in the central nervous system. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, work by tricking the brain into releasing serotonin and dopamine. Because people living with Parkinson’s don’t naturally release enough dopamine in their brains for movement control, it follows caffeine may help with symptoms.
Additionally, hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine are released into the bloodstream. These are the hormones that are involved in the “fight or flight” response. This is useful if you happen to be in an emergency situation, but it isn’t useful if you’re just sitting down in your office.
This “fight or flight” response is what causes heavy caffeine drinkers to experience anxiety, agitation, and irritability. The alertness they feel after they drink coffee is followed by a negative mood in some people. The more coffee they drink, the worse they feel. One research study showed that those who drink an excess amount of caffeine during the day have nervous systems that are nearly indistinguishable from people who suffer from anxiety.
While drinking regular coffee may not prevent depression and/or Parkinson’s, these findings may be of some comfort to those who might feel a bit guilty about their caffeine habit. While more research is needed, some people do find caffeine helpful in managing depressive symptoms. This may decrease the concerns that drinking caffeine has a negative impact on the brain and the body.
It’s important to manage caffeine consumption. Remember an organic coffee that is Fairly Traded is always your best bet. Work toward weaning yourself off the sugar and milk or cream you may be using in it now, and work toward enjoying it black.
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Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Her new book, “Eat Your Blues Away” in which she chronicles her recovery from depression is now available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback!
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