Coffee does a lot of wonderful things, in addition to simply tasting good, and we can add one more to the list today. A new study has linked coffee consumption with lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, a nonprofit that studies the heath effects of coffee, found that there are several things going on in coffee that may be relevant to slowing age-related cognitive decline.
ISIC researchers point to the caffeine and polyphenol content in coffee as the protective factors. Caffeine, they say, prevents the buildup of the protein that creates plaques and tangles in the brain, which researchers believe is one of the key causes for the memory-robbing disease. Caffeine, along with polyphenols, chemical compounds that have an antioxidant effect on the body, both reduce inflammation, which some researchers believe is the key to age-related decline.
Their study looked at a ground of around 5,000 middle aged participants whose coffee consuption was monitored from 1989 to 1991, and again from 1997 to 2011. Participants in the study who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day were found to be less likely to develop dementia or experience the onset of Alzheimer’s. Research suggests that coffee consumption could be causing a delayed onset of symptoms, rather than reversing damage that is already present, since there was some indication that the “protective effect” of coffee may diminish over time. That said, there is still lots more research to be done and a delayed onset – a slowing of the disease’s progress, especially at the beginning – is certainly a wonderful thing because it buys you extra time, as anyone who has had a loved one fall victim to dementia will certainly tell you.