How a Cuppa Joe Could Save Your Brain

by DavalosMcCormack on January 16, 2009

Buy shares in Starbucks. Go and hug your neighborhood barrista. They could be saving your brain!

A new study from Finland found that people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day in middle age were less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia compared to people who drank no coffee or very little.

The study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, followed more than 1,400 people between the ages of 65 and 79 over the course of 21 years. They asked them various questions including how much tea and coffee they drank a day.

They found that people who drank what was categorized as “moderate consumption” – 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day – during midlife had the lowest risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, compared to people who didn’t drink any coffee or drank two or fewer cups. Drinking more than 5 cups a day didn’t seem to offer any extra protective benefits.

What about tea? Well, this was Finland and apparently there weren’t enough tea drinkers to draw any conclusions about its effectiveness.

The really good news for coffee lovers is that this is just the latest piece of research showing that a cuppa Joe can do a lot more than just provide a quick pick-me-up first thing in the morning (or even last thing at night).

  • Harvard researchers found that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of diabetes. A similar study in the Netherlands found the same thing
  • Six separate studies found that regular coffee drinkers are up to 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to non-drinkers
  • Other research has found that coffee can reduce your risk of colon cancer, headaches, and cavities
  • There’s even a study from Brazil that shows that children who drink coffee – with milk – are much less likely to be depressed than other children

Altogether some 19,000 different studies have been done on coffee. It’s one of the most widely researched substances in the world. Most of the studies have found some positive benefits, for most people.

Like with any beverage there is a danger in drinking too much. But even there, another study has shown that people who smoke and drink alcohol, but who also drink a lot of coffee, are at lower risk of heart disease than smokers/drinkers who don’t consume coffee.

Think about that the next time you are in Starbucks behind the person who is ordering 7 triple shot extra hot low foam soy-milk white chocolate lattes. Be patient with them, they’re not buying drinks, they’re buying medicine.

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