“Why, yes, I could start my day without coffee. But I like being able to remember things like how to say words and put on pants.”
Here’s some good news for those of us who are coffee lovers – sometimes known as coffeeheads. Recent research has shown that drinking coffee can help protect you from developing frightening common neurodegenerative disorders like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. This is great news! Coffee is good for your brain!
Coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants found in the western diet. No other food that we consume on a regular basis comes even close. Coffee is packed with antioxidant phytochemicals and polyphenols that help block oxidation in the body, and especially the brain.
Chlorogenic acids (CGAs) are potent and protective polyphenols found in coffee. They have been shown to be one of the primary compounds found in coffee that positively impacts brain function.
Two recent groundbreaking studies have shown that regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia later in life.
The FINE (Finland / Italy Netherlands / Elderly) study (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16929246/) followed 600 men over the course of 10 years and found that those who regularly drank coffee had less cognitive decline than those who did not drink coffee. CGAs were noted as the key ingredient linking these brain benefits to coffee consumption.
The CAIDE (Cardiovascular Risk Factors / Aging / and Dementia) study followed 1,400 (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19158424/) people and found that drinking 6-18 ounces of coffee a day (approx. 3-5 cups) was associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later in life.
A research review covering 94 studies and published in the European Journal of Nutrition (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28391515/) found CGAs linked to multiple brain benefits. Coffee consumption, and the resulting positive effects of CGAs were linked to the stimulation of healthy neurons and the inhibition of amyloid protein buildup in the brain due to anti-inflammation compounds ingested, better blood sugar control fostering healthy nourishment streams to the brain and improved vascular function and increased cerebral blood flow.
Caffeine from coffee can boost the production of serotonin in the body. This feel-good chemical is beneficial to mental health and regulates many brain tasks. Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tracked 50,000 women for 25 years (jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1105943). They found that drinking 4 cups of coffee a day resulted in a 20% reduced risk of depression compared to those who did not drink coffee.
A monster study of over 1 million people linked coffee consumption to a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15522854/), specifically in men.
Another study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found a greater positive protective effect of caffeine from coffee against cognitive decline in women over men. (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20182036/).
Oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain can also contribute to anxiety, depression, and memory loss. The anti-inflammatory compounds found in coffee can help to calm this stress and foster mental health.
The consistent intake of coffee appears to be a major factor relating to coffee’s health benefits. Those of us who drink coffee tend to drink it every day. We are giving our brains a daily dose of beneficial antioxidants and compounds that can help keep our brains healthy and functioning, so we can remember to put on pants.
Here’s the bottom line. Drinking coffee daily is linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, cognitive decline, and depression. Drink coffee.
A good cup of coffee every morning is like a hug for your brain!
© 2024 Jody Dyer