Can Coffee Really Protect You from Alzheimer’s Disease?
The global population of older adults is expected to increase by 17 percent by 2050, and this has medical professionals becoming concerned with the potential cost burden related to Alzheimer’s and dementia, two of the most common diseases in people above the age of 65. How prevalent is Alzheimer’s Disease? According to Alzheimer Europe, one out of twenty people over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s Disease.
A healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced, whole food diet, and a well-regimented exercise program, are the foundation of fighting back against Alzheimer’s Disease. Is there more that you can do to protect yourself? According to several recent studies, a moderate coffee habit may be one of the best ways to avoid Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
What is in Coffee?
From a basic nutritional standpoint, coffee isn’t very impressive. Plain, black coffee without milk or sugar doesn’t contain much in the way of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates). It does contain a few micronutrients such as vitamin B3 and potassium, but nothing that would help you achieve your daily recommended allowance. So, what is it about coffee that makes it an ideal and nature way to fight Alzheimer’s Disease? The answer is caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, and it’s considered the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world. Once you drink coffee, caffeine gets to work in the brain, influencing your central nervous system.
Alzheimer’s, Beta-Amyloid, and Caffeine
Alzheimer’s is the result of brain cell death. When a protein called beta-amyloid builds up in the brain, it forms plagues on the brain tissue. This plague is what triggers the brain cell death, thereby promoting Alzheimer’s and dementia. Caffeine works by suppressing levels of beta-amyloid.
Recent studies have shown that caffeine works directly against beta-amyloid while reducing inflammation in brain tissue. Coffee is thought to be the best source of caffeine as it is natural and contains antioxidants, which fight free radical damage.
What’s more, studies suggest that caffeine can be useful at any point in life but especially before the onset of symptoms, particularly in midlife.
How Much Coffee Should I Drink?
Studies cite that drinking three to five cups per day was associated with the lowest risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers suggest that this could cut your risk by up to 65 percent.
Obviously, three to five cups can be a dramatic increase in caffeine for those who don’t drink it now. We would recommend drinking one to two cups per day. You’ll still get the benefits of caffeine without the risk of over doing it and feeling anxious, which can happen if you drink too much.
Are you a coffee drinker?
How many cups do you drink per day? What benefits have you noticed from drinking coffee? Tell us about it in the comments below.
David Sautter is a NASM certified personal trainer and a NASM certified fitness nutrition specialist who has worked in the fitness industry for over 12 years.
During his time in the fitness industry, David Sautter has conducted many fitness workshops, trained hundreds of clients, and has written extensively for a variety of companies. He has been a featured fitness writer on many high-profile health and fitness websites. Aside from producing weekly articles, David has been the writer of several e-books and training guides.
He, Wan & Goodkind, Daniel & Kowal, Paul. (2016). An Aging World: 2015. 10.13140/RG.2.1.1088.9362.
“Dementia - Alzheimer's Disease - Who Is Affected by Alzheimer's Disease?” Alzheimer Europe, 26 Aug. 2015, www.alzheimer-europe.org/Dementia/Alzheimer-s-disease/Who-is-affected-by-Alzheimer-s-disease.
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Cao C1, Wang L, Lin X, Mamcarz M, Zhang C, Bai G, Nong J, Sussman S, Arendash G.J Alzheimers Dis. Caffeine synergizes with another coffee component to increase plasma GCSF: linkage to cognitive benefits in Alzheimer's mice. 2011;25(2):323-35. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-110110.
Eskelinen MH, Ngandu T, Tuomilehto J, Soininen H, Kivipelto M. Midlife coffee and tea drinking and the risk of late-life dementia: a population-based CAIDE study. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009;16(1):85-91. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2009-0920.