I first tasted coffee at the age of 19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at one of the college town’s numerous coffee shops. It’s been a love affair ever since.
But coffee to me is also a biohacking and personal growth tool.
According to Inc. Magazine…
Coffee is also the closest thing to a Marvel Comics-style Super Serum that scientists have ever discovered. It measurably speeds your reflexes, improves your vision, sends more oxygen to your brain, reduces pain and makes you physically stronger.
So if the intoxicating aroma, cozy feel and onset of happy neurochemicals weren’t enough, then get this — coffee is also incredibly good for your performance.
3 Reasons Coffee Works As A Biohacking Tool
1. It Makes You Smarter
Many people associate coffee with making you feel awake and happy. While both of these contribute to a better working brain, they are only the tip of the iceberg.
Caffeine helps to stimulate the production of adrenaline. In consistent, being-chased-by-a-lion amounts, adrenaline can be damaging. However, in the amount contained in a cup of coffee, it’s the closest thing we have to this real-life “Super Serum.”
This healthy amount of adrenaline also helps to induce flow states.
Coffee kicks your body into 6th gear. Your reaction time is quicker, you can process thoughts and information more efficiently, and you can better follow a train of thought.
It optimizes your brain power —and even memory— by increasing oxygen flow.
But did you know that it’s also great for your vision?
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Coffee causes your pupils to dilate. This allows your retinas to absorb more light, which allows you to pick up on even more detail and information in your surroundings.
Increased energy, happiness, flow, reaction time, processing speed and improved vision? A “Super Serum,” indeed.
To amp up your coffee-induced brain power, try mixing in a teaspoon of Dave Asprey’s “Brain Octane Oil” (a purified form of coconut oil).
2. It Makes You Live Longer
According to science, “Coffee repairs your DNA, calms your body, and helps prevent cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.”
So yes, coffee actually makes you live longer.
And good news for decaf lovers (like myself) — these longevity-boosting effects come from the miraculous coffee bean itself.
Coffee beans provide your body with many youthful nutrients and phytochemicals, but don’t they also just make you feel soothed, purposeful, and happy? If those aren’t ingredients to a long and healthy life, I don’t know what are.
3. It Helps You Maintain A Healthy Weight
So, just as I thought there couldn’t be more reasons to love coffee, science peaks it’s head again.
The British Journal of Nutrition recently published that coffee decreases appetite, waist size, and body mass index (BMI).
Again, decaf lovers, this goes for you too.
Coffee greatly decreases insulin resistance and fasting blood glucose… Which is fancy science talk for: while coffee helps you maintain your weight, it also improves your vital functions.
Nailing The Formula — The Amount. The Mix. And The Timing.
Now, before ordering that 3rd round of venti caramel macchiato, keep these three things in check. By following this simple formula, you can amplify the biohacking powers of this “Super Serum” and diminish any potential negative side effects.
1. The Amount
How much coffee should you drink?
According to studies, maximum benefits occurred at around 4-5 cups per day — the equivalent of two Starbucks “grande” drinks. But it also depends on your personal caffeine tolerance.
If you drink more than 4-5 cups a day, I suggest switching to decaf for a couple of days to reboot your the caffeine intake your body’s used to.
2. The Mix
Here’s the biggest catch of all — pay attention to what you MIX with your coffee.
You need to take your coffee without sugar, creamer, or milk — these substances negate the health benefits of coffee. So, avoid those mochas and lattes and stick to black.
Does this sound dreadful? Impossible?
Don’t worry. I once thought the same.
That is, until 4 years ago at breakfast during A-Fest in Thailand…
A stranger, and now my dear friend, Anton Koning broke the unspoken rule to never break the sacred bond between a person and their first cup of coffee.
As I finished dumping a packet of sugar into my coffee, Anton leaned in, tapped my shoulder, and said 4 incredibly annoying but life-changing words to me.
“Vishen, stop doing that.”
The ego-driven voice inside my head fought back, but Anton persisted.
Look, I don’t think you realize this but what you have is a common but very disruptive habit. You need to stop adding sugar to your coffee.
He insisted that it was a simple habit to break and that I could break it in as little as 3 days.
Here’s the method he suggested:
Day 1: Cut the amount of sugar in your morning coffee in half.
Day 2: Cut the amount of sugar in half again (so just a quarter of a packet).
Day 3: Cut the sugar altogether.
“Just try it,” Anton said. “By the fourth day, you’ll no longer crave sugar in your coffee.”
It seemed way too simple. But guess what? It actually worked. And you can do it too.
3. The Timing
Stop drinking coffee after around 2 pm.
According to Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson, the reason for this is that caffeine has a half-life of around 6 hours.
This means that if you drink a cup of coffee at noon, half of that caffeine stays in your system by 6 pm. And a quarter will remain by midnight when it’s time for bed… Which means bad sleep.
But the good news — you can always resort to decaf after 2 pm. (Which is exactly what I’m drinking as I’m writing this post at 7 pm.)
There’s one exception though – when you combine coffee with a power nap.
It’s a technique coined by Dr. Michael Breus, known as The Sleep Doctor called Nap-A-Latte.
As weird as the name sounds, this is actually a legit bio-hack to boost focus, alertness, and memory for four hours. This is what you do:
- Drink a 6oz cup of black coffee with ice. In fact, chug it down at once! The ice makes it easier to chug. Don’t try this with hot coffee.
- Lie down for a 20 minutes nap right after the last sip. Studies on coffee naps show that this is the optimal amount.
- The caffeine will kick in right at the time when you wake up. It takes around 20 mins for caffeine to do its magic.
What happens scientifically is that naps help you rid your body of the biological molecule adenosine which causes you to feel sleepy. And just as your adenosine reserves get used up, the caffeine kicks in.
According to Breus, you should then be good to power through for at least another 4 hours.
If you’re passionate about biohacking tools and science-based methods to boost your performance, follow me on Instagram where I share some tips from some of the biggest experts of the world.
How do you use coffee to increase your performance? Share it with us in a comment below.