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Drinking Coffee This Often Can Make You Happier, New Study Says

Scientists explain why your coffee ritual could be a great way to combat winter blues.

You know coffee lifts your mood, but now research is affirming that belief. Thanks to a new European survey, researchers have honed in on a link between coffee consumption and relief from winter-induced depression. Here's the background.

Note: This study was backed by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), whose members are six Europe-based coffee companies, including Lavazza, illy, and Nestle. However, the organization pledges unbiased reporting on coffee research, and this new study comes with a compelling insight that they suggest may be related to brain science.

Keep reading to learn what they found, and also check out One Major Effect Coffee Has on Your Kidneys, New Study Says.

The need for a pick-me-up

drinking coffee

If you feel like nothing starts your day off quite as cheerfully as coffee does, you may actually be on to an interesting observation. Here's why: The ISIC recently sponsored research investigating the impact of diet and lifestyle on mood, specifically as daylight hours decrease. For this, they surveyed 5,000 adults in Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the U.K.

Of the participants:

  • 21% said the lessening of daylight hours causes them to feel more anxious
  • 24% said less daylight makes it harder to concentrate
  • 25% feel less motivated to engage in physical activity when it stays darker for longer
  • 28% reported greater feelings of sadness and depression this time of year

On a brighter note, many of those who drank coffee said they have reason to believe it has a mood-lifting effect…

The perks of daily coffee-drinking

assorted coffees

On how they help manage these effects, 29% of the respondents reported that their primary motivation to drink coffee is its ability to boost their energy levels.

Additionally, 21% said coffee enhances alertness and concentration, and 20% said it helps them improve their mood and emotions.

 6 Coffee Habits That Help With Weight Loss, Dietitians Say

Coffee and brain science

hot coffee pour

The researchers cite an explanation from Assistant Professor Giuseppe Grosso, MD, PhD, a researcher in the Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences at the University of Catania's School of Medicine in Italy.

Grosso, who has led past research on the neuropharmacological effects coffee, has explained: "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."

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In other words…

two friends

The European coffee-drinkers in this study could be observing an actual effect: Research like Grosso's has suggested that coffee really might work with your brain chemistry to lift your mood and enhance alertness levels this time of year.

To be just a little more specific, the current report points to a 2010 study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease that concluded approximately one cup of coffee helped "sustained improvement of mood" throughout the day when study participants consumed it every four hours.

As if you needed one more reason to love that daily brew! For more of the latest on food and your health, keep reading:

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy