According to a new study, scientists have found drinking just 2 cups of coffee per day can cut the risk of dementia by more than a third, especially for women over the age of 65.
Previous studies have linked coffee consumption to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving health in general, but the latest discovery could be revolutionary in reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
Public health issues are rapidly rising with the increase of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly population, but there is currently insufficient curative treatment to address it. In the US, 5% of people aged 70-79, 24% aged 80-89, and 37% aged over 90 suffer from dementia, which causes significant stress for those who take care of them.
What is dementia?
Dementia refers to a group of diseases which impact how the well the brain functions and it affects mostly elderly people. It is a progressive disease which usually starts later in life and lasts for the rest of the person’s life.
Symptoms include mood swings, personality changes, and the deterioration of long or short term memory, which can have a significant impact on the completion of daily activities.
There are currently no cures for it and the symptoms lead to permanent damage.
Details of the study
A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studied the coffee habits of 6467 women aged of 65 to 80 for 10 years, based on questions about their self-reported intake of coffee, tea, and soda.
It was found that the participants who consumed an average of 261 milligrams or more of caffeine per day, which equates to approximately 2 standard cups of coffee, were 36% less likely to develop dementia or cognitive dysfunction.
The findings of the study were published in The Journals of Gerontology.
How does coffee help?
However, the results have created a solid foundation for further studies to be carried out.
Dr. Ira Driscoll, one of the lead authors of the study, said: “’The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor. While we can’t make a direct link between higher caffeine consumption and lower incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia, with further study, we can better quantify its relationship with cognitive health outcomes. Research on this topic will be beneficial not only from a preventative standpoint but also to better understand the underlying mechanisms and their involvement in dementia and cognitive impairment.”
However, what experts already know for sure is that caffeine from coffee does bind to receptors in the brain, which can cause the brain to stay more alert and activated. Interestingly, the study found that tea and soda did not have the same effect, leading researchers to believe that there are more health benefits in coffee than they ever thought possible.