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Researchers Find An Unexpected Benefit of Caffeine: Honesty

Researchers Find An Unexpected Benefit of Caffeine: Honesty

Approximately 33% of — or about 83 million — Americans receive less than the recommended amount of sleep. Lack of adequate sleep has been linked to a host of adverse effects on our physical and mental health, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, depression, and other ailments. It also wreaks havoc on our cognitive abilities and work performance by impairing memory and learning, judgment, and critical thinking. And of course, insufficient sleep is associated with a higher rate of accidents, injuries, and medical and occupational errors. However, it is less widely known that sleep deprivation may promote deception and even delinquency through its effects on self-control and regulation.

While some studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with unethical behavior as well as delinquency, one study demonstrates that providing a jolt of caffeine may help ward this off.

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The Experiment

How is this demonstrated, you ask? In their study, researchers compared 100 college students kept awake all night in a lab with 100 well-rested students. At the start of the experiment, all 200 students were given two pieces of mint gum. Half in each group received normal gum and the remaining half received gum with 200 mg of caffeine, or approximately the same amount contained in a 12-ounce cup of coffee.

Participants then engaged in a game where they were told that they would be splitting money with someone in the study. As part of the experiment, they could either send an honest or deceptive message to the participant with whom they thought they were sharing the money. The deceptive message would benefit them, whereas the honest one would not. An additional condition was that half of the total participants were encouraged to send the deceptive message as part of a test of social influence. The other half were not prompted to send either type of message.

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Results

They results are striking. The 100 sleep-deprived students were far more likely to send a deceptive message than their 100 well-rested counterparts. And among the sleep-deprived students, those who received the caffeine were less likely than their non-caffeinated counterparts to send the deceptive message.

These results highlight that sleep deprivation can lead to “ethical lapses,” but it also points to the idea that caffeine may help blunt this adverse effect.

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Another Study

A subsequent study suggested something similar, which is that caffeine may protect against increased risk-taking propensity in those who are sleep deprived. In this study, 25 adults completed two different risk-taking scales at regular intervals during 75 hours of continuous sleep deprivation. Yes, you read that right — these subjects had approximately three days of no sleep. Roughly half were given caffeine during the sleepless nights of the study; the control group received a placebo. Results showed that while the placebo group showed significant increases in risk-taking propensity and behavior over those three nights, the caffeinated group did not. So caffeine may help to compensate for the effects of even severe sleep deprivation.

Making Use of Caffeine

While caffeine is not a substitute for sleep, and can be detrimental in large doses, it may be able to offset the negative effects of sleep deprivation by giving you the extra energy needed to resist harmful social influences and strengthen willpower and self-control. So next time you feel sleepy, consider grabbing a cup of coffee or other caffeinated drink. It might just keep you from telling that little white lie or doing something you may later regret.

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Published on November 7, 2019

27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes)

27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes)

Do you want to be able to make healthy meals on a weeknight, but feel like it just takes too long?

This is where pressure cooker meals come to the rescue! With an electric pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot, you can make meals a lot faster than on the stove or in the oven. You also just set the time, and let it do its thing while you do yours, until you hear the beep.

Taking advantage of this time-saving device to make healthy meals is easy, but it’s hard to know where to start in searching through all of the recipes online. It takes forever to browse around and find something you want to make.

Let’s get you started with 27 easy recipes for healthy pressure cooker meals you can make this week – along with some info on why they’re healthy to motivate you to make them.

1. Chipotle Burrito Bowls

    This recipe is not only spectacularly delicious, but shows you how to use the pot-in-pot method for your pressure cooker to make rice and beans at the same time. This way, you can flavor them differently, and portion out each section of your burrito bowl for a gorgeous meal.

    Check out the recipe here!

    2. Maple Bourbon Chili

      Adding sweet potatoes and a little splash of maple syrup and bourbon takes an already delicious chili to the next level. This one is also vegetarian, so it’s free from cholesterol and saturated fats, and the kidney beans bring cholesterol-lowering fiber and homocysteine-lowering folate for a heart-healthy bowl of goodness.

      Check out the recipe here!

      3. Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

        Risotto is so luxuriously creamy and rich, but the traditional method takes a lot of time and constant stirring. Making it in your electric pressure cooker means you can set it for five minutes, and let it go on its own. This recipe pairs slightly sweet butternut squash and earthy sage for a perfect fall meal.

        Check out the recipe here!

        4. Lentil Ragu

          Lentils make a perfect stand in for ground beef in this hearty and flavorful ragu. They’re a good source of folate, iron, B vitamins, and fiber – all of which help contribute to your energy levels and heart health.

          Check out the recipe here!

          5. Moroccan Winter Squash and Chickpea Tagine

            A lighter take on a traditionally slow-cooked North African dish, this vegetarian tagine from is cooked quickly in the pressure cooker. The easy pickled raisins sound like an exciting flavor boost to try!

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            Check out the recipe here!

            6. Chickpea Bolognese Spaghetti Squash

              Swap the meat for protein- and mineral-rich chickpeas, and the spaghetti for vitamin-rich gluten-free spaghetti squash! Cooking spaghetti squash in your pressure cooker cuts the time down significantly from baking it, so you have this delicious and nutritious meal on the table quick enough to enjoy even on a weeknight.

              Check out the recipe here!

              7. Lasagna Soup

                All the delicious comfort of lasagna, but as a one-pot stew you can make quickly in your pressure cooker. Richa gives the helpful tip that because pasta cooking times can vary, look at the time on the package you’re using and divide by two to get the time you should set on your pressure cooker.

                Check out the recipe here!

                8. Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Quinoa Salad

                  Learn how to make perfectly cooked quinoa in your pressure cooker with the helpful video, and then toss it into a tasty salad that you can pack up for lunches on the go.

                  Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Thai Coconut Chickpea Stew

                    A flavorful, creamy, protein-rich soup with just five main ingredients, and ready in twenty-three minutes. Perfect for a weeknight, with enough leftovers to take for lunch the following day.

                    Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Pasta Puttanesca

                      Making pasta in your pressure cooker is easy and quick, and perfectly flavored here with capers, olives, and tomato sauce. Including crushed red pepper flakes gives a little kick of spiciness, and also works as a slight appetite suppressant, so that you’ll be less likely overeat this yummy dish.

                      Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Butternut Squash Soup

                        This gorgeous golden-colored soup is full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoids. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and oil-free – but doesn’t skimp on flavor! The addition of a granny smith apple is brilliant, to add to the depth of flavor and bring out the natural sweetness of butternut squash.

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                        It has a little kick from some curry powder, but if you wanted to appeal to younger taste buds you could leave that out and it would surely be a hit.

                        Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          Minestrone is a perfect example of comfort food that’s wholesome at the same time. It usually needs to simmer for quite a while to cook the potatoes, but in your pressure cooker, it’s done in no time. Packed with vegetables, kidney beans, and pasta, this is a fully balanced meal in a bowl.

                          Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Chana Masala

                            Using an authentic blend of Indian spices, and perfectly pressure-cooked chickpeas, you can create your own restaurant-level chana masala at home! Spices like ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory, and cumin may help with blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar balance.

                            Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Quinoa Pilaf

                              Pair protein-rich quinoa with anti-inflammatory turmeric, along with a heap of whatever vegetables you have on hand, and turn it into a delicious healthy meal in 20 minutes. This is proof that easy and healthy meals definitely don’t have to be boring!

                              Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Cajun Red Beans with Sausage

                                Infuse some red beans with cajun seasonings and vegetables, then toss in some vegan sausage if you like. This is perfect for batch cooking, to portion your meals for the week or freeze for later, so that you don’t resort to take out on those hectic days.

                                Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cuban Black Beans and Rice

                                  Soft cooked black beans and rice, seasoned with garlic, onion, cumin and topped with an easy salsa of fresh lime juice, avocado, tomato, and red onion sounds like an absolutely perfect meal. Not only is this delicious, but you’ll get thirty-two percent of your daily protein needs in just one serving.

                                  Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Creamy Vegetable Soup

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                                    This soup has a whole lot of vegetables packed in for maximum nutritional power, including cauliflower which is loaded with cancer-fighting compounds. At the end, you stir in cashew cream to create a rich creamy broth without any dairy.

                                    Check out the recipe here!

                                    18. Chik’n Stew

                                      Go a step beyond chicken soup by adding all sorts of veggies and chickpeas for a hearty and nourishing stew. It’s so easy to put together: simply put everything in your pressure cooker, set the time, and then stir in some spinach before serving.

                                      Check out the recipe here!

                                      19. Split Pea Soup

                                        Split pea soup is so rich and hearty, and usually takes a long time to cook on the stove, so it’s a perfect one to speed up in a pressure cooker. This recipe uses all the classic flavors of split pea soup, but replaces the saturated fat and nitrates of bacon with a dash of liquid smoke. The smoky tempeh crumbles are perfect toppers, and if you don’t make your own, you could just use tempeh bacon.

                                        Check out the recipe here!

                                        20. Thai Peanut Chickpea Soup

                                          Peanut butter adds such a full, rich flavor to this soup, and packs so many vegetables in to get you all kinds of nutrients. It’s gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, uses the one pot of your pressure cooker, and is ready in just thirty minutes.

                                          Check out the recipe here!

                                          21. Portobello Pot Roast

                                            With zero cholesterol and saturated fat, this makes a healthy version of hearty comfort food – all made in your pressure cooker for a quick dinner with minimal cleanup!

                                            Check out the recipe here!

                                            22. Three Sisters Soup

                                              The three sisters are the Native American trinity of corn, beans, and squash that were planted together because they were mutually beneficial as they grew. This soup brings them together with the beautiful flavors of sage and ancho chili powder.

                                              Check out the recipe here!

                                              23. Indo Chinese Corn Soup

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                                                Indo Chinese cuisine is Chinese recipes adapted to Indian tastes, so this hearty soup is flavored with toasted sesame oil, cumin, and ginger. It’s thick enough that as Kristina suggests, you could enjoy it with rice for lunch the following day.

                                                Although corn isn’t always thought of as a health food, it’s a good source of B vitamins and iron for energy, as well as zinc and selenium for immune health.

                                                Check out the recipe here!

                                                24. Goulash

                                                  A bit like the building blocks of minestrone, but with paprika, this Hungarian soup makes a nourishing, wholesome, and delicious meal the whole family is sure to love. This recipe replaces meat with cholesterol-free and high-fiber lentils for a heart healthy version.

                                                  Check out the recipe here!

                                                  25. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding

                                                    This is so wholesome but also so delicious it can double as breakfast and dessert! With just three ingredients, it’s simple to make, and cooks a lot faster in your pressure cooker than on the stove. As Katie points out, the black color of the rice indicates that it has the same powerful antioxidants as blueberries.

                                                    Check out the recipe here!

                                                    26. Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

                                                      All you need are three ingredients and two minutes on high pressure to make this delicious and protein-packed breakfast bowl. It makes four servings, so you can portion it out for the week ahead. Top it with maple syrup, pecans, and almond milk for the full experience.

                                                      Check out the recipe here!

                                                      27. Sugar-Free Apple Butter

                                                        This is so easy to make, and with the sweetness coming from the natural sugars of the apples and dates, you can’t go wrong!

                                                        A great dish to make in a big batch after going apple picking, so you can enjoy it all winter. Spread it on a bagel, scoop it on top of your oatmeal or pancakes, or have a little bowl for a snack or healthy dessert.

                                                        Check out the recipe here!

                                                        So there are no excuses left, now that you have 27 easy recipes you can start making healthy meals in your pressure cooker. The beauty of having healthy food ready to go is that it makes take out that much less tempting. And the magic of electric pressure cookers is that you can set it and forget it, while you unwind after work and come back when you hear the beep to dish up the goodness.

                                                        For more easy pressure cooker recipes to explore, check out 17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals .

                                                        Featured photo credit: Ella Olsson via unsplash.com

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