Coffee and Alzheimer’s Risk: A Friend or Foe?
Coffee is the most consumed drug on the planet. Every day, 400 million cups are drank in America alone. While this magical bean juice can help you stay sharp and alert after that dreaded mid-day slump, it may also provide you with more benefits than just a boost of energy.
As the globe’s premier drug, coffee has long been a subject of interest within the scientific community. In the past, researchers thought that it may be a very unhealthy thing to consume, with some studies even linking coffee drinking to an increased risk of heart disease. Luckily, thanks to the advent of new research methods and technologies, we can safely say that drinking coffee is not as bad as it was once thought to be. In fact, recent experiments done on coffee consumption suggest that it most likely has strong benefits for your health if consumed in moderation.
So, how does coffee confer these health benefits to those who drink it moderately? While the scientific community has yet to reach a specific consensus, some compounds that are in the coffee bean have been independently linked to longer lifespans. One of these compounds is an antioxidant-like molecule called polyphenols. These powerful chemicals have been correlated with an increased lifespan from research conducted on the diets of those living in Japan, Italy, and Spain. They have also been linked to a reduced risk digestive issues, heart disease, and all-cause mortality.
In fact, one study conducted by Larry Tucker at Brigham Young University went so far as to suggest that each cup of coffee has enough antioxidant properties to slow aging by as much as 2.1 years. That relationship was found to be polyphenol dependent, meaning that caffeine was not the compound within coffee that slowed down the aging process.
Research on coffee in the context of Alzheimer’s Disease has suggested that the drug can also be neuroprotective. A recent study published by Australian researchers last year found that those who drank 3–5 cups of coffee a day may experience a reduced progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, the scientists found that coffee consumption may reduce the accumulation of Beta Amyloid plaques, which are a pathogenic component of Alzheimer’s Disease, by as much as 65%.
Is coffee a friend or foe when it comes to Alzheimer’s Disease? My take: Friend. In fact, it may be beneficial to have 1–3 cups of coffee a day, assuming you like the stuff.