Best Coffees For ADHD (Caffeine Might Help)

Plain black coffee is regarded as the best coffee for ADHD. The caffeine from the coffee can help people to improve their focus and be more attentive.

People drink coffee for its instant jolt of energy and the fact that it helps to get them out of bed. You see, almost everyone has a busy schedule and needs that extra kick most of the time. But people with ADHD have to be careful about their diet as certain foods and drinks may make ADHD worse for them.

Which begs the question is coffee good for ADHD? It actually is good.

Let’s dig in and find out what coffees are the best coffees for ADHD.

Keep reading.

How Does Caffeine Affect The Brain?

a image of spilled medicines for adhd

Caffeine is a stimulant by nature. Once consumed it affects the central nervous system of the body, keeps you awake, and gives you a jolt of energy.

Caffeine is a stimulant that is naturally found in many foods like teas and coffees. And most people get their daily caffeine fix from coffee. Caffeine has a lot of good effects on your body and brain. But particularly on the brain.

The stimulant effects of caffeine occur in the central nervous system. Most notably, it increases alertness once it reaches the brain. Keeping you awake and less fatigued, it’s commonly used in medicines to treat or manage drowsiness, headaches, and migraines.

Research has also found that those who drink coffee regularly are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Caffeine also increases the release of dopamine. And as we all know dopamine is also known as the happy hormone. Dopamine elevates your mood while helping you have lesser anxiety and even lowers depression.  

Coffee is regarded by some people as a healthy drink, but like most foods, it can also cause side effects if consumed in excessive amounts. The FDA suggests not consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day, regardless of whatever your source of caffeine is. If you cross this daily limit then you are likely to face caffeine overdose.

These symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Elevated higher blood pressure
  • Increase heartbeat

How Does Coffee Affect People With ADHD?

People with ADHD lack concentration but are super active. By drinking coffee, the caffeine helps them focus and improves concentration but it doesn’t necessarily make them super active. However, if you overconsume it you can face side effects like insomnia, lack of energy, etc.

The neurotransmitter dopamine affects mood, focus, and mobility, as well as controlling the reward system in the brain. Whenever we partake in something enjoyable, such as enjoying good food or sipping the right kind of coffee, our dopamine levels rise. We refer to dopamine as our feel-good hormone.

a cup of coffee

In people with ADHD, their dopamine levels are less than average people. This makes them feel vulnerable and more depressed.

Many people, however, have too much dopamine in their system when they consume stimulants such as coffee. Consequently, they become agitated and even anxious.

These stimulants can, however, normalize dopamine levels in people with ADHD. Therefore, a few cups of coffee a day can help. But don’t go overboard.

The consumption of coffee by adults with ADHD can help them stay focused during the day but can cause them trouble at night because it makes it difficult for them to fall asleep. Sleep deprivation aggravates ADHD symptoms as it leaves you more tired. You see, that is a recipe for disaster. The total amount of caffeine adults consume during the day needs to be monitored carefully for ADHD adults.

Caffeine consumption can help people with ADHD focus, according to some studies. The stimulant properties of caffeine are similar to those of amphetamine medications used for treating ADHD. In contrast to medications, caffeine alone is generally less effective. Children and teens can be adversely affected by caffeine consumption even when it is safe for adults with ADHD.

Furthermore, among other things, caffeine works as a vasoconstrictor. And what vasoconstrictors do is that by making blood vessels smaller, it reduces blood flow. This is why caffeine relieves headaches by constricting blood vessels. Caffeine and amphetamine both constrict blood vessels. Researchers have found that reducing blood flow can reduce the activity of overactive brain regions and allow them to operate more effectively.

Here I’ve made a table of some popular coffees with their caffeine content.

CoffeesQuantityCaffeine Content
Decaffeinated Brewed8 oz2 mg
Brewed Coffee8 oz96 mg
Decaffeinated Coffee8 oz2 mg
Regular Coffee8 oz96 mg
Decaffeinated Espresso1 oz0 mg
Espresso1 oz70 mg

What Is The Best Coffee For ADHD?

The best coffee that is considered for ADHD is plain black coffee. That is because it has less caffeine than many other coffees without any added sugar or dairy.

As we discussed above, ADHD is a sensitive condition in which people need to be really mindful of what they are putting in their bodies. And some types of foods and drinks are not really a good choice for them. Like people with ADHD are recommended not to consume excessive sugars and things like white rice, sweets, potatoes and so much more. But when it comes to coffee, there are so many varieties floating around that you might just get consumed about which coffee is the best for ADHD.

Some coffees are highly caffeinated like red-eye, some are just chocolatey madness like mocha and some are dairy heaven-like lattes. And all of these kinds are not healthy and can aggravate ADHD symptoms. So, the best option for coffee for an adult who has ADHD is plain black coffee. You see, plain black coffee is not highly caffeinated and is without any added sweetness. Of course, you can add sweetness and dairy, but it depends upon your doctor what he or she has prescribed you or told you to avoid. Therefore, on the whole, plain black coffee is the best option.  

You can even watch this wonderful video.

Should You Have Coffee If You Have ADHD?

You can still have coffee even if you have ADHD. Caffeine has been shown to help regulate dopamine levels in people with ADHD. Plus, synergy occurs when caffeine is consumed with ADHD medicine making the impact stronger. However, this is not advised or recommended.

People with ADHD go through a lot on a day-to-day basis. And most importantly their dopamine levels are not of those for an average person. Here’s where the caffeine from the coffee comes into play. It helps increase dopamine levels while increasing their attention span.

This is achieved only when consumed in moderation and in the early hours of the day. Plus, its effect known as synergy occurs when caffeine and amphetamine medications combine, such as amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It happens when two drugs work in synergy, making their combined effect stronger because they possess additive mechanisms of action.

a scattered display of roasted coffee beans.

The presence of caffeine increases the effectiveness of amphetamines, so a person taking Adderall, for example, will likely experience greater effects.

My Two Cents

The best coffee for people with ADHD is black coffee. Black coffee possesses all of the natural benefits that come with caffeine, and in its simplest form, it is devoid of sugar and dairy.

Sugar can be detrimental for people with ADHD, which is why I highly recommend black coffee with no other additives. If the taste of black coffee is too strong, you could always add natural sweeteners like stevia to sweeten the taste.

Plain black coffee can be really helpful if consumed in moderation, but going overboard with coffee, whether it’s black or not, can damage your health more so than it can help it. So always remember to stay within the FDA’s limits and try not to overconsume.

Marty Spargo

Caffeine aficionado and coffee student (if there's such a thing!). I've come to love coffee in recent years and share what I learn along the way on this website.

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