Have a Problem to Solve? Try a Cup of Joe

A close-up view of two cups of coffee, strawberries and croissants
Westend61/Getty Images

If starting your day without a cup of coffee sounds like torture, you’ve got company. The latest statistics from the National Coffee Association show 90 percent of older coffee drinkers need a morning cup to jump-start their day.

We know that moderate coffee consumption — three to five cups a day or up to 400 mg of caffeine, according to the 2015-2020 federal Dietary Guidelines — can be part of a healthy diet and is linked to a lower risk of some diseases, including type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

But is that daily caffeine jolt good for your brain?

To learn more about coffee’s benefits, and some downsides, check out this story on how coffee may help protect memory from Staying Sharp.

A new University of Arkansas study that looks at how caffeine affects our problem-solving skills should make coffee drinkers happy. While caffeine may not significantly improve creativity, the study finds, it does seem to increase focus and improve other important problem-solving skills, as well as our mood.

The 200 mg of caffeine significantly improved problem-solving that involved the ability to quickly come up with a single right answer, the researchers wrote. It did not significantly affect working memory. Test subjects did report feeling less sad.

To read the full report of the study, see this article on Staying Sharp, Coffee May Help Boost Your Problem-Solving Skills.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

Search AARP Blogs