Wake up and smell the coffee!

One of CabbieBlog’s most read posts was one written last year about London’s first coffee house. Back in 1652 strong coffee was claimed by health writers to be the catch-all cure for anything from gout to
period pain.

It’s popularity amongst the City’s men of business was due to its stimulating effect and was purported to sharpen the brain for commerce, unlike its predecessor – alcohol.

[T]his Guest Post acknowledges that those early consumers had a point and today the benefits of coffee are just as relevant for those who drive a London cab.

Caffeine is the thinking man’s drug of choice. It helps us hit the day in the morning with enthusiasm, picks us up when we’re feeling low, and generally keeps us going.

Its use – mainly in coffee, tea, and many fancy stimulating soft drinks – is so widespread that we tend to take its effects for granted, but actually, it’s quite an effective drug.

Sharpens the mind
For a start, it makes people smarter. No, it doesn’t inform you of the best items of clothing to wear for that meeting with the executives in the morning, but it’ll still make you look better to them. Caffeine is a stimulant – an upper, if you will – and as a psychoactive substance, it works extremely well. Drinking a strong cup of coffee stimulates the bits in the brain that regulate hormone production, and specifically the hormones that make you feel good and switched on. More vigilant, too.

Improves the mood
It’s also been proven to improve your mood. Now, anyone that’s a regular coffee or tea drinker is going to know that already, but it actually has longer-term effects than that, reducing depression rates when drunk regularly. Certainly, any cabbie will be able to say that when the day is dragging, and the customers are whinging and miserable, a cup of coffee or a hot cup of tea is just the thing to help. It almost creates the ability to cope with people better; and there’s a two-fold reason for this. Someone in a good mood is likely to deal with an awkward or difficult situation in a more positive way than someone who is already feeling tired and miserable. However, add to that the fact that the brain can be more creative when stimulated by caffeine, and it means that dealing with the general public can become a fun challenge instead of a drag!

Helps with concentration
Anyone who drives for a living – or even makes occasional long distance trips – will know that when tired, a stop-off at a petrol station for a quick fix of caffeine will improve the driving situation. Studies again, have shown that there’s a lot less weaving and bad decision-making made by coffee drinkers after so many hours of driving. Concentration is improved, massively. The increased vigilance helps here – drowsy-driving is considered as dangerous as drink-driving, because it slows reactions, and dulls responses. Coffee is our friend. Literally a lifesaver here and there.

So what type of drink is best?
The truth is, no one can say for sure. Whether it’s the most expensive coffee in the world, brewed in one of those smart Tassimo coffee machines, or just a double shot of the freeze-dried stuff with a large helping of sugar, it’s going to stimulate the mind and temporarily provide assistance to the person consuming it. Can’t go wrong, no matter what the delivery.

If coffee isn’t the drink of choice, tea, brewed strongly, should have the same effect, although there’s conflicting evidence around whether it’s got as much caffeine in it as coffee.

Stimulating drinks can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts; there’s a fair bit of evidence to suggest that they have been connected to heart failure in very young people, so it’s perhaps best to avoid overdoing the caffeine. Normal levels of consumption should cause no problems whatsoever.

Image: FanPop

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