180 Nutrition: Coffee lovers are always delighted when a new study comes out indicating that their morning cup of Java isn’t as harmful as they were once led to believe. Although caffeine is on the list of prohibited foods for those with nervous conditions such as anxiety, studies have shown that it protects the heart, potentially delays diabetes, and is linked to a longer life. One recent study is particularly interesting from a human resources perspective. It found that caffeine can play an important role in helping teams work together – indicating that coffee may have earned its place in the gourmet corner of any modern office.
What’s the relationship between caffeine and teamwork?
The study showed that people gave more positive reviews for their own and their colleagues’ performance on a task if they drank coffee before this task. Another study showed that people talked more when under the influence of caffeine, staying on important topics more than those who consumed decaf coffee. The reason for these results, say the scientists, is increased alertness. “We suspect that when people are more alert they see themselves and the other group members contributing more, and that gives them a more positive attitude,” said the lead researcher. Alertness leads to greater interest in others and heightened empathy; as we listen to members of our work team, we can begin to understand the main obstacles that may be standing in the way of our goals.
What type of coffee increases alertness?
In the above study, the researchers stressed that positive effects were only witnessed in those consuming caffeinated coffee. Instant coffee contains a lesser amount of caffeine than brewed coffee so if an important meeting is coming up, take the time to make a rich, fragrant brew to boost your alertness. Of the two main coffee types (Arabica and Robusta), the latter has twice the amount of caffeine as the former. Robusta coffee can be bitter, however, so if you are into gentler, fruitier aromas, opt for Arabica instead.
Watch out for sugary additives
Some of the things you should avoid if you are enjoying coffee on a daily basis are creamers and flavoring, which can contain a high concentration of sugar. Sugary foods are considered pro-inflammatory. They can impair your memory and counteract the effects of coffee. That is, after enjoying a dark, sweet cuppa, the high levels of glucose in your beverage will cause attention levels to decline.
Coffee, like all the best things in life, is fine when consumed in moderation. If you have anxiety or a medical condition in which coffee can make you feel nervous, it may not be the ideal way to start your day. However, if an important meeting or team event is coming up and you’d like to give your team your all, a shot of espresso will help increase your alertness and interest in what they have to say.
This article was written by Jane Munro a health enthusiast and freelance writer.