Study: Coffee Aroma May Reduce Stress

Photo by Sh0dan via Flickr

Photo by Sh0dan via Flickr

Whenever I enter a coffee shop, I find the smell of coffee intoxicating.  It is so rich, warm, inviting, relaxing and invigorating all at once that it feels like it must be a drug. There are so many different ways you could describe the wonderful scent of coffee. But what is it about the smell of roasted coffee beans that most of us find so delightful?

Well, a group of international scientists led by Han-Seok Seo of Seoul National University is shedding some light on how the aroma of coffee might positively affect our brains.  These researchers studied gene and protein expression in the brains of lab rats.  And what they found was quite surprising!  They found that the aroma of coffee did have a beneficial effect on rats brains who were stressed by sleep deprivation. They found that when these rats inhaled the aroma of coffee, there was a change in the levels of activity of 17 genes and in the level of some brain proteins that helped reduce the stress level of the sleep deprived rats and initiated healthy antioxidant activity.

So, what does that mean?
Well, it may mean that you may not have to drink coffee to get health benefits from it.  Just smelling coffee may reduce your stress level by altering the activity of genes in your brain.  Does that mean you should run out and buy a bag of roasted coffee beans and inhale it whenever you are stressed or don’t get enough sleep?  Not necessarily. More research is still needed, especially human studies, but so far the findings of this study are encouraging.  You never know, the aroma of coffee may improve your health!

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2008, 56

Comments (7)

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  1. Joey Pasion M.D. says:

    I need a coffee air freshener then 🙂 Great Article, thanks for sharing!

    • linkayle su says:

      Try buying those things in a dollar store which you put scented oil on top and candles at the bottom. I used mine daily and replace the scented oil with coffee.. house smells soooo relaxing.. i use that everytime im working.

  2. Interesting. I loooove the smell of coffee. Smells and music are both funny…certain smells can bring in a childhood memory too- not coffee tho- coffee always make me think of snuggling up! 😉

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Chevreau, PsychDigest, athinkingman, Ryan Kappel MSW,LSW and others. Ryan Kappel MSW,LSW said: RT @woundedgenius @athinkingman http://bit.ly/12A5PN: Coffee Aroma May Reduce Stress ~ mmm…coffee… […]

  4. Maria Isabel says:

    It is wonderful to know that the smell of coffee is good to lower stress.

  5. Emily - LI says:

    What I found interesting at a makeup store recently was that there were small boxes of coffee beans every few feet in the perfume section. A saleswoman informed me that I could smell the coffee beans to “reset” my nose so that I would then be able to more accurately smell and evaluate the various perfumes I was trying to decide between. It really worked, too!

  6. As far as I am concern, drinking or smelling them is my way of relaxing myself. I have been doing this for a couple of years now and I can testify that it is really working.

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