As if you weren’t already drinking a lot of coffee, a review of several studies has found drinking three to five cups a day could reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 20 percent.
The research was presented at the 2014 Alzheimer Europe Annual Congress, and found that people who drank coffee regularly — all you lifers out there — were less likely to develop the debilitating disease. Alzheimer’s, perhaps the worst type of dementia, is a progressive disease that works slowly, first making it difficult to remember newly learned things, and later on making it difficult to remember early memories and family member’s faces, while also causing hallucinations.
The biggest risk factor for the disease is being over 65 years old; an age that many baby boomers, who comprise 26 percent of the American population, began reaching in 2012. Over 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day for the next 17 years, and with the cause, prevention, and treatment of Alzheimer’s being such a mystery, scientists are frantically trying to understand it. Thus, we have coffee, a potential method for preventing it.
“The findings presented in this report are very encouraging and help to develop our understanding of the role nutrition can play in protecting against Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Iva Holmerova, vice chairperson of Alzheimer Europe, in a press release. “Coffee is a very popular beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the world, and I’m pleased to know that moderate, lifelong consumption can have a beneficial effect.”
Roughly 83 percent of American adults drink coffee, according to the National Coffee Association. What many of these Americans don’t know, however, is that inside that cup of Joe is a wealth of polyphenols, which you probably know as antioxidants. These antioxidants — researchers said they’re the same ones found in the Mediterranean diet — prevent the formation of a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease known as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, the study found. They also reduce inflammation and deterioration of brain cells, particularly in the areas of the brain (the hippocampus and cortex) responsible for memory.
Along with prevention of Alzheimer’s, coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of liver cancer and other liver conditions, a lower risk of type 2 diabetes; it prevents eye damage and Parkinson’s disease; and even boosts endurance. But even then, drinking too much isn’t good, either. As the researchers noted, three to five cups is optimal; anything over that, and you might find yourself with some problems.