Coffee & Hydration in the Office: The Myth and the Mystery

Studies shows that an awesome office break room can have many benefits including increased employee productivity, moral and retention.

Whether we're in the office or at home, we all need the proper amount of hydration in our bodies. Despite what non-experts say, we do not need 2 liters (64 ounces) of water every day (the 8 × 8 rule), and we do not need to drink before we are thirsty.

Our bodies have evolved a fantastic system for telling us when we're low on water, triggering thirst when our blood-electrolytes increase their concentration by 2%. Medically you are not dehydrated until your electrolyte concentration is 5% higher than normal, so thirst is an excellent indicator of when it is a good time to have a drink.

Caffeine is Not a Diuretic

Once upon a time people drank black (common, non-herbal) tea and coffee because these drinks "gave them a lift" and made tiredness fade. The reason that works is because our brains and our bodies are so cool!

Consider:

Our brain monitors the amount of a substance in our blood called adenosine. When it is in short supply, we feel wide awake and energetic. As we expend energy for anything, from running a race, to thinking about accounting details, or arguing about contract law, adenosine is created as a byproduct of that energy usage.

When we have an excess of it, our brain interprets that as being low on available energy, and starts to slow things down so we can "catch up" and resupply our cells with energy. To you it feels like your brain is getting "foggy" and that you are "tired", or "can't think straight".

The Truth

Our brains are actually a little overprotective of us. There is no real shortage because our liver makes glucose from our food or our fat reserves constantly, even when we're asleep. We only need 3.2 grams (1 teaspoon) of sugar to run our bodies for a whole hour. That means one can of cola has enough energy for over 12 hours; even if you had no other food for the day you could still function with just two sodas. Add food and that's why we're such an overweight nation. Calories are just too easy to come by.

On the other hand, it means that it's perfectly safe to trick our brains into not slowing down. The place in our brain that measures the amount of adenosine (called a neuroreceptor) actually prefers caffeine instead. That means the levels of adenosine can be much higher before we feel tired. Very handy!

The Mayo Clinic tells us that the normal consumption of caffeine containing beverages does not cause fluid loss in excess of the volume that you drank. It is, in fact, equivalent to water in its hydrating ability. The Mayo Clinic also specifically states that caffeinated beverages do not appear to increase the risk of dehydration in any way back.

Remembering Better

What a boon for your office! Not only does caffeine increase our alertness, our ability to concentrate, and our creativity, but a 2014 caffeine study revealed that it enhances our ability to remember things. It improves our mood, reaction time, vigilance, and how quickly we can think.

Improved Health

In a pair of studies it was shown that caffeine before exercise improved performance by approximately 12%. Other studies have shown a large reduction in the chance of getting type-2 diabetes (between 23–67%).

If that's not enough, coffee has also been shown to possess a neuroprotective effect which helps prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia (60% reduction) and Parkinson's disease (32–60%).

You cannot live without your liver. Coffee helps relieve the risk of cirrhosis of the liver by 80%. It also reduces the chance of liver cancer by approximately 40%.

In addition coffee happens to have lots of vitamins and minerals which are great for your body. It also has antioxidants in greater numbers than we find in either fruits or vegetables combined.

The Takeaway

New research is pointing to the fact that coffee is not bad for you. It's actually steering us towards the conclusion that coffee is one of the best things you can drink, as long as you don't drink ridiculous amounts of it. As we all know, anything in excess is bad for you.

Coffee benefits the office; it benefits the individual; and, most importantly, it is remarkably inexpensive for all the good that it does. Finally, one more fun fact: coffee drinkers are 30% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers in any 20 year stretch of time. You know… I think I am going to go and get a coffee…

If you want all the advantages that coffee and proper hydration in the office confers, give us a call at (719) 633-6887 and let's make sure that you have exactly what your office needs for maximum employee satisfaction and peak productivity.

It's also a great opportunity to be environmentally responsible and reduce your carbon footprint with these energy efficient machines. Do you have questions? Drop us a line at our e-mail address! We would love to hear from you.

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