Coffee vs. Guarana
How does Guarana compare with coffee?

Most high-achievers would rather die than kick their coffee habit, but could guarana be an even better stimulator and motivator?

Coffee is the lifeblood of many busy professionals and a half-cold cup of the stuff can be as much of a permanent desk-fixture as your keyboard. Caffeine not only reduces fatigue but can also give your alertness and concentration levels a boost.[1] For hard-working people with a full day of focus ahead, this is often a much appreciated (and even essential) work aid.

Unfortunately, coffee is often a double-edged sword. While that early-morning caffeine-hit may give you a much-needed energy infusion, repeated cups of coffee throughout the day can leave you jittery, anxious and unproductive.

Fortunately, coffee isn’t your only option for kickstarting your morning. The guarana seed extract is the natural stimulant you need to stay stimulated for longer without hitting the dreaded caffeine-crash, and it has many other health benefits besides.

But what is guarana, and how does it compare to coffee in terms of stimulation and enhancement of cognitive performance?

What is guarana?

Guarana is a climbing plant native to the Amazon (and especially Brazil) whose seeds are packed with caffeine and numerous other health-promoting compounds.

For centuries, it has been used for its medicinal properties and as a natural herbal stimulant by indigenous communities throughout the Amazon basin. In fact, guarana is such an effective energy-booster that its popularity has persisted into the modern era and, today, is a common ingredient in several brands of energy drinks.

The small, brownish-red berries of the guarana plant are about the same size as a coffee berry but pack a far greater punch. Not only do guarana seeds have more than twice as much caffeine as coffee beans,[2] but they also contain a variety of other compounds with an array of stimulant and health-promoting properties.

Though primarily produced in Brazil, guarana has been used for medicinal purposes throughout the Amazon basin for hundreds of years.

Guarana vs coffee: Caffeine content

The winner is: guarana

Coffee is a plant known for its high caffeine content, but guarana beats the bean hand’s down on this one. Whereas coffee beans typically contain 1 – 2% caffeine, guarana seeds can contain up to 4.5% – more than twice as much![3]

Guarana vs coffee: Stimulation

The winner is: guarana

Guarana seeds often have a far higher concentration of caffeine than coffee beans; in fact, guarana contains more caffeine than any other known plant in the world![4] It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that guarana seed extract has a greater stimulating effect than coffee. What is surprising, however, is that this effect is thought to come from more than just caffeine. In one study, researchers found that guarana was more stimulating than caffeine alone, an effect that is thought to come from the potent mix of other natural compounds found in guarana seeds.[5]

What’s more, these compounds facilitate a smooth and steady release of energy that can keep you consistently focused. For people battling the swooping highs and crashing lows of a hardcore coffee habit, this can even out your energy levels and help to keep your productivity optimal throughout the day.

Guarana vs coffee: Cognitive Function

The winner is: guarana

Cognitive function describes a person’s overall mental ability, including their memory formation, decision-making, problem-solving, alertness and information processing skills. For the ambitious professional, maintaining optimal cognitive function is of the utmost importance for guaranteeing the success of your business. The caffeine found in coffee is known to enhance cognitive function and could even improve your long-term memory,[6] but could guarana do the job even better?

One study found that, even at very low doses, guarana improved memory function, alertness and contentedness.[7] This effect could not be attributed to caffeine alone, as the nootropic was administered in very small amounts – too small for the caffeine content to have any noticeable effect. Therefore, the mental boost produced by guarana supplementation is thought to be down to the additional compounds unique to the seed which, combined, give cognition a far greater kick than coffee.

Guarana vs coffee: Flavour

The winner is: coffee

Guarana seeds by themselves are reported to have a bitter and slightly woody flavour.[8] When incorporated into energy drinks, manufacturers are free to mask this earthy taste however they like and, given the popularity of these beverages, they’re doing a great job. But will it ever compare to the aromatic and complex blend of flavours found in every coffee bean?

For coffee enthusiasts, there is no comparison – nothing beats the bean!

 

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Conclusion

Coffee is the world’s most widely used pick-me-up and is the best friend (and lifeline) of hardworking professionals everywhere. Unfortunately, the side effects of too many cups (anxiety, jitters and difficulty focusing) can all be counter-productive for people trying to put in a full day at the desk.

Guarana has been used as a natural stimulant for centuries in the Amazon basin but has only recently entered the mainstream market. This tiny seed packs a powerful punch, containing twice as much caffeine as coffee beans and many other stimulating compounds besides. When put to the test, guarana was found to beat caffeine in terms of stimulation and cognitive function and could help to keep you sharp all day long. A daily dose of this powerful nootropic has the potential to improve your overall productivity and earning potential, with many other health benefits besides.

References

You can find external sources referenced in the article below:

[1] Nehlig, A. (2015). Effects of coffee/caffeine on brain health and disease: What should I tell my patients?. Practical Neurology16(2), 89-95. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2015-001162

[2] Yoquinto, L. (2020). The Truth About Guarana. Retrieved 7 January 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/36119-truth-guarana.html

[3] Wassef, B., Kohansieh, M., & Makaryus, A. (2017). Effects of energy drinks on the cardiovascular system. World Journal Of Cardiology9(11), 796-806. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v9.i11.796

[4] Smith, N. and Atroch, A. (2010). Guaraná’s Journey from Regional Tonic to Aphrodisiac and Global Energy Drink. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 7(3), pp.279-282.

[5] Moustakas, D., Mezzio, M., Rodriguez, B., Constable, M., Mulligan, M. and Voura, E. (2015). Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model. PLOS ONE, 10(4), p.e0123310.

[6] Borota, D., Murray, E., Keceli, G., Chang, A., Watabe, J., Ly, M., Toscano, J. and Yassa, M. (2014). Erratum: Corrigendum: Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nature Neuroscience, 17(9), pp.1287-1287.

[7] Haskell, C., Kennedy, D., Wesnes, K., Milne, A. and Scholey, A. (2006). A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-dose evaluation of the acute behavioural effects of guaraná in humans. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 21(1), pp.65-70.

[8] Yoquinto, L. (2020). The Truth About Guarana. [online] livescience.com. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/36119-truth-guarana.html [Accessed 9 Jan. 2020].