Coffee has been a bit of a controversial subject this past week. Researchers seem to be at odds as some say coffee is good for the brain and others say that it’s bad for the brain.
Many previous studies have painted coffee in a positive light. They’ve shown that the dark liquid helps us perform better at school and work by keeping us sharp, a good number of dieticians believe that it can help obese and overweight people lose weight and fight off type 2 diabetes, and a study from a few months ago has revealed that coffee can benefit men with erectile dysfunction (ED).
But despite all of this, a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease made headlines on Thursday claiming that if coffee consumption changes over time, even slightly, this can harm someone’s memory and thinking skills under certain circumstances.
The working theory also said that this cognitive decline caused by coffee would eventually lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s worth mentioning that the researches could not prove a cause-and-effect link, only an association. Furthermore, Dr. Vincenzo Solfrizzi and his team from the University of Bari Aldo Moro only looked at senior adults.
They monitored them for 3.5 years and found that if a subject with normal cognitive abilities used to drink just one cup of coffee per day, but increased their coffee intake over the course of the study, they would become two times more likely to show signs of mild cognitive impairment, compared to subjects who used to drink just one cup of coffee per day and reduced their coffee intake over the course of the study.
The researchers also noticed that if a subject increased their coffee consumption throughout their life, they also had a chance of experiencing mild cognitive impairment that was 1.5 times higher, compared to subjects who kept their coffee consumption steady throughout their life.
But the bottom line of the study was that “Older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI”.
What the researchers concluded is that coffee can actually help fight off Alzheimer’s disease. If a subject kept their coffee consumption the same throughout their life and did not exceed one or two cups of coffee per day, their risk of experiencing mild cognitive impairment decreased.
Dr. Solfrizzi and his team gave an explanation, saying that coffee most likely has a kind of “neuroprotective” effect that minimizes the damage caused by the buildup of amyloid protein plaques, a well known factor linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
What’s more, the subjects who steadily consumed more than two cups of coffee per day, without changing their coffee consumption habits over time, could not be linked to mild cognitive impairment either.
The study also reinforced previous studies by showing that a moderate coffee intake may also boost the aging brain’s insulin sensitivity and lower a person’s chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers did mention that further research “with longer follow-up periods” is needed, but they’re hopeful that their work will eventually lead to the development of diets that can keep people from developing dementia.
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