Turns out you don’t actually have to drink coffee to get some of its benefits. A researcher at Seoul National University exposed some exhausted lab rats to the aroma of coffee.
They found that the rats who got to smell coffee — but not drink it — expressed proteins that help protect nerve cells from stress-related damage. Those same changes are the ones that make people more alert when they drink coffee.
So, the next time you need a pick-me-up, all you really need to do is take a good whiff of the air at your local coffee shop.