A survey of 5,000 adults across the UK, Italy, Finland, Germany and Poland has found that lifestyle and diet choices can have an impact on low mood as the days get shorter.
The study, which was commissioned by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) found that almost a third of adults experience depression or increased feelings of sadness (28 per cent) as daylight hours decrease.
A fifth of people said they feel more anxious as the days get shorter (21 per cent), while 24 per cent said they find it hard to concentrate, and 25 per cent said they lose motivation to exercise.
This change in mood is commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to Bupa, the disorder affects three in 100 people in the UK at some point in their lives.
The symptoms, which also include irritability, loss of interest in normal everyday activities and lack of energy, are more apparent during the winter, according to the NHS.
Researchers at the University of Catania in Italy reviewed previous findings that lifestyle measures such as a good diet and regular exercise can improve mood.
They found that consuming 75mg of caffeine – the equivalent of one cup of coffee – every four hours, could result in a pattern of sustained mood improvement over the course of the day.
The findings also indicated that regular coffee intake could increase alertness and improve cognitive behaviors.
Of those surveyed by the ISIC, 20 per cent of adults said they felt that their mood improved after drinking coffee.
A further 29 per cent said they felt more energized, while 21 per cent said it helped them feel more alert and to concentrate better.
Giuseppe Grosso, an assistant professor at the University of Catania’s school of medicine, said there is evidence to suggest that the micronutrients in coffee could pass from the blood into the brain, and aid the body’s neuroinflammatory response and the formation of new neurons in the brain.
“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,” Grosso said.
More great news for coffee lovers in all seasons.