Thursday August 16, 2018

Smelling Coffee May Boost Your Analytical Skills

It's not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting

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The people would feel more alert and energetic in the presence of a coffee scent, versus a flower scent or no scent. (IANS)
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If you love the fragrance of coffee, there are high chances of better performance in analytical tasks, a new study has found.

According to the researchers, smelling a coffee-like scent — which has no caffeine in it — has an effect similar to that of drinking coffee, suggesting a placebo effect of coffee scent.

The findings also suggested that the scent of coffee alone may help people perform better on the analytical portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) — a computer adaptive test required by many business schools.

“It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting,” said co-author Adriana Madzharov from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the US.

“But they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance,” Madzharov added.

For the study, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, the research team administered a 10-question GMAT algebra test in a computer lab to about 100 undergraduate business students.

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Consuming 4 Cups of Coffee Daily May Help Boost Heart Functions in Elderly as well. Pixabay

The participants were divided into two groups. One group took the test in the presence of an ambient coffee-like scent, while a control group took the same test — but in an unscented room.

The researchers found that the group in the coffee-smelling room scored significantly higher on the test.

The team also designed a follow-up survey — conducted among more than 200 new participants — quizzing them on beliefs about various scents and their perceived effects on human performance.

Also Read: Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The participants believed they would feel more alert and energetic in the presence of a coffee scent, versus a flower scent or no scent; and that exposure to coffee scent would increase their performance on mental tasks.

The results suggest that expectations about performance can be explained by beliefs that coffee scent alone makes people more alert and energetic.

Previous studies have also suggested that coffee may lessen the risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia. (IANS)

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Fresh Grounds for Coffee: Study Shows It May Boost Longevity

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine

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Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois.
Adam Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas, carries two glasses of iced coffee, responds to a question about new research showing that drinking coffee may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily, July 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (VOA)

Go ahead and have that cup of coffee, maybe even several more. New research shows it may boost chances for a longer life, even for those who down at least eight cups daily.

In a study of nearly half-a-million British adults, coffee drinkers had a slightly lower risk of death over 10 years than abstainers.

The apparent longevity boost was seen with instant, ground and decaffeinated, results that echo U.S. research. It’s the first large study to suggest a benefit even in people with genetic glitches affecting how their bodies use caffeine.

Overall, coffee drinkers were about 10 percent to 15 percent less likely to die than abstainers during a decade of follow-up. Differences by amount of coffee consumed and genetic variations were minimal.

The results don’t prove your coffee pot is a fountain of youth nor are they a reason for abstainers to start drinking coffee, said Alice Lichtenstein, a Tufts University nutrition expert who was not involved in the research. But she said the results reinforce previous research and add additional reassurance for coffee drinkers.

“It’s hard to believe that something we enjoy so much could be good for us. Or at least not be bad,” Lichtenstein said.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

It’s not clear exactly how drinking coffee might affect longevity. Lead author Erikka Loftfield, a researcher at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, said coffee contains more than 1,000 chemical compounds including antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage.

Other studies have suggested that substances in coffee may reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin, which can reduce chances for developing diabetes. Loftfield said efforts to explain the potential longevity benefit are continuing.

Adam Taylor, fetching two iced coffees for friends Monday in downtown Chicago, said the study results make sense.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Coffee makes you happy, it gives you something to look forward to in the morning,” said Taylor, a sound engineer from Las Vegas.

“I try to have just one cup daily,” Taylor said. “Otherwise I get a little hyper.”

For the study, researchers invited 9 million British adults to take part; 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed. The low participation rate means those involved may have been healthier than the general U.K. population, the researchers said.

Participants filled out questionnaires about daily coffee consumption, exercise and other habits, and received physical exams including blood tests. Most were coffee drinkers; 154,000 or almost one-third drank two to three cups daily and 10,000 drank at least eight cups daily.

During the next decade, 14,225 participants died, mostly of cancer or heart disease.

Caffeine can cause short-term increases in blood pressure, and some smaller studies have suggested that it might be linked with high blood pressure, especially in people with a genetic variation that causes them to metabolize caffeine slowly.

Also Read: What Does Your Coffee Say About You?

But coffee drinkers in the U.K. study didn’t have higher risks than nondrinkers of dying from heart disease and other blood pressure-related causes. And when all causes of death were combined, even slow caffeine metabolizers had a longevity boost.

As in previous studies, coffee drinkers were more likely than abstainers to drink alcohol and smoke, but the researchers took those factors into account, and coffee drinking seemed to cancel them out.

The research didn’t include whether participants drank coffee black or with cream and sugar. But Lichtenstein said loading coffee with extra fat and calories isn’t healthy. (VOA)