Is coffee good for you or not? The evidence keeps getting more and more complicated, and the more information we get, the more muddled the answer becomes.
Sometimes, we learn that coffee prevents disease. Sometimes, we learn it could increase risk of cancer, osteoporosis, and even our mortality. And now, we’re learning it could help protect our brains.
If you’re worried about losing your memory or your cognitive capacity as you get older, this could be great news.
New evidence shows that the blood-pressure raising, sleep-disturbing substance could help to prevent brain degeneration over time. As a result, the drink could help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, a Chinese research team investigated the effects of one to two cups of coffee per day on the risk of later experiencing a cognitive disorder. The researchers pooled data from over 34,000 research participants and compiled the results, revealing a J-shaped curve of the relationship between cups of coffee and mental decline.
In other words, drinking small amounts of coffee — one to two cups per day — was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. However, drinking more than that did not decrease risk at all.
Studies conducted in the past have also suggested similar findings, though the amount of coffee required to produce an effect is not unanimously agreed upon. Some indicate that coffee in general acts as a protective factor against Alzheimer’s. Others have insisted that at least three cups every day are required to make a noticeable difference in Alzheimer’s protection.
So how many cups should you drink?
If you want additional protection against your brain’s breakdown as you age, you might want to keep sipping. However, these researchers are hesitant to draw any definitive conclusions. “Further prospective long-term randomized controlled trials are still demanded to firmly establish the observed relation,” they relayed.
There’s no evidence so far that drinking coffee hurts your brain, though — so in terms of Alzheimer’s prevention, drinking it couldn’t hurt.