Why we crave coffee

As I drive past the coffee houses I notice an increasing number of mountain bikers stopping to get their dose of coffee before heading for the trails.  It seems contrary to drink coffee before doing a healthy activity but the science behind it is fascinating on why we crave coffee.

The central nervous system is mildly stimulated by coffee consumption and it only takes a short time to feel the “buzz”, only 3 percent is released through urination.  Most of the stimulation will be felt in 30 minutes, your brain will have elevated neural effects and your blood pressure will rise.  Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter that calms you.  Adrenaline rises and you have faster response times and are more alert.  These are all short terms effects, however.

On the negative side, drinking too much coffee can affect normal sleep patterns leaving you feeling less alert upon awakening.  Your nerves can feel jittery and your heart will beat faster.  Stop drinking coffee and you will get headaches, a withdrawal symptom.   So you pour another cup of coffee and the symptoms go away, just don’t drink too much.

The increase in performance, the aroma of coffee as it is brewing and the feel of it warming your hands in the morning all attribute to that sense of craving.   As the steam wafts up into your nose you sip your coffee and a smile spreads across your face.

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