Reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s may be as simple as enjoying a few cups of coffee each day.
A new report found that compounds within coffee — including caffeine — may prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Arfan Ikram, MD, PhD, of the Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam in the Netherlands, led this research.
“The majority of human epidemiological studies suggest that regular coffee consumption over a lifetime is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, with an optimum protective effect occurring with three to five cups of coffee per day,” Dr. Ikram said in a press statement.
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive decline in mental abilities like memory and thinking. It most often occurs in older patients. Symptoms include forgetfulness and confusion.
A diet consisting mostly of fish, fruits, vegetables and olive oil has been tied to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s in past studies. This may be because those foods contain chemicals called polyphenols, which are also found in coffee, the report authors wrote.
Dr. Ikram and team also looked at past long- and short-term studies on coffee intake and mental decline. Past studies that looked at coffee drinkers for five to 10 years have shown “a significant protective effect of coffee consumption,” the report authors wrote.
However, the study authors noted that studies with follow-up periods longer than 15 years “have produced less consistent results.”
This report also looked at studies on caffeine’s effects on the brain. Dr. Ikram and team found that caffeine may reduce the buildup of plaque in the brain and lower levels of inflammation in areas of the brain that are crucial to memory.
“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 on the development of Alzheimer's Disease,” said Iva Holmerova, MD, PhD, vice chair of Alzheimer Europe.
This report was presented Oct. 23 at the 24th Annual Conference of Alzheimer Europe.
The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, which is funded by seven coffee companies, funded the research. Dr. Ikram and team did not disclose any conflicts of interest.