Health

A Morning Cup of Coffee — Or Two! — Could Lower Your Risk of Developing This Disease

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Do you rely on your daily cup o’ joe to get going in the morning? Well, there’s good news: A long-term study coming out of Australia says drinking coffee every day could lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s over time.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University spent over a decade tracking the cognitive decline of 200 test subjects to see if there were any potential links between lifestyle behaviors and brain health. Among the many associations they discovered, higher coffee consumption was connected to reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, as well as mild cognitive impairment, which is an early sign of the disease.

How much coffee should you drink to help prevent Alzheimer’s?

Just how much coffee do you need to drink to see this change? Scientists deduced that two cups containing around 240 grams of coffee could do the trick. They say doing so could lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by eight percent in just 18 months. While researchers don’t fully understand the underlying causes, they believe that the compounds in coffee slow the accumulation of amyloid proteins, which clump together and cause the neurons in the brain to become damaged and stop firing off to one another.

Does decaf coffee have the same effect?

Scientists are also quick to caution that there’s a lot more research that needs to be done in order to definitively confirm this connection. For example, so far it’s not known if coffee needs to be caffeinated or decaffeinated to see this effect; they’re also not sure if adding milk, sugar, or other ingredients changes this potential health benefit. “We need to evaluate whether coffee intake could one day be recommended as a lifestyle factor aimed at delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” Samantha Gardener, PhD, the lead investigator on the study, said in a press release.

That said, Dr. Gardener is hopeful. “It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms,” she explained. “We might be able to develop some clear guidelines people can follow in middle age, and hopefully it could then have a lasting effect.” That sounds promising!

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