October 29th 2021 – As countries across Europe prepare to put the clocks back for winter, a pan-European survey funded by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, exploring the impact of lifestyle and diet choices on mood, has found that over a quarter of adults across Europe experience depression (28%) and increased feelings of sadness (28%) as daylight hours decrease .
The consumer survey of over 5,000 adults across the UK, Italy, Finland, Germany and Poland also revealed that as hours of daylight decrease respondents become more anxious (21%), find it harder to concentrate (24%), lose motivation to exercise (25%) and see a dip in sports performance (21%) .
During the darker, colder months of the year some people can suffer from persistent low mood, loss of pleasure or interest in normal activities, and a lack of energy, commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD typically presents itself in the autumn and winter, with remission during spring or summer .
According to scientific research, lifestyle measures such as a good diet and regular exercise are known to contribute to improvements in mood and wellbeing , . Research also indicates that regular coffee intake can lead to an improvement in most cognitive measures and moods  as well as decreased reaction times and increased alertness .
Assistant Professor Giuseppe Grosso, Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Catania, commented: “There is evidence that coffee polyphenols may pass the blood-brain barrier, exert anti-neuroinflammatory effects and even promote neurogenesis, hence resulting in decreased risk of both cognitive and affective disorders” [8-11].
The survey also looked at coffee drinking habits related to shorter days, with the survey suggesting the main motivation for drinking coffee for 29% adults during this time was to feel more energised; 20% said they drank coffee to improve their mood and emotions, while 21% said it helped with alertness or concentration .
Coffee and mood improvement, stimulated alertness and improved concentration
A review of existing research has suggested that 75mg of caffeine (the equivalent of one cup of coffee) every four hours can result in a pattern of sustained improvement of mood over the day . Additional research found that coffee aroma may enhance working memory and stimulate alertness . Further research found that in addition to using caffeine to feel awake, people use it for the social aspects of consumption, to improve concentration; as well as to increase physical energy and improve mood .
Coffee can also act as brain stimulant: heightening alertness, keeping arousal, improving executive speed, maintaining vigilance, and promoting memory, which are associated with attention, mood, and cognitive function . Mood is not only modulated by caffeine itself but also by the expectation of having consumed caffeine, which improves mood together with attention .
For those lacking the energy to exercise during winter, coffee may help too. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that there is an association between caffeine consumption and an increase in endurance performance (aerobic exercise lasting over 5 minutes), endurance capacity and a reduction in the rated perceived effort or exertion during exercise .
The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee will be releasing a video outlining the negative impact winter months can have on mood and the role that moderate coffee consumption may play in improving this.
To find out more about the scientific research on coffee and health visit: www.coffeeandhealth.org
Notes to editors
The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1990 and devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to “coffee and health.” Since 2003 ISIC also supports a pan-European education programme, working in partnership with national coffee associations in nine countries to convey current scientific knowledge on “coffee and health” to healthcare professionals.
ISIC’s activities are focused on:
ISIC respects scientific research ethics in all its activities. ISIC’s communications are based on sound science and rely on scientific studies derived from peer-reviewed scientific journals and other publications.
ISIC members are six of the major European coffee companies: illycaffè, Jacobs Douwe Egberts, Lavazza, Nestlé, Paulig and Tchibo.
The website www.coffeeandhealth.org is a science-based resource developed for healthcare and other professional audiences and provides the latest information and research into coffee, caffeine and health. For information follow Coffee and Health on twitter: @coffeeandhealth
Reviewed By This Is Article About Drinking coffee helps to improve mood as days get shorter was posted on have 4 stars rating.