Millions of Americans can now enjoy their morning cup of coffee for an even better reason: it might actually prevent memory loss and reduce one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found.
Researchers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in Italy studied 1,445 people between the ages of 65 and 84 years over a three and a half year period — and discovered that regular coffee drinkers are less at risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s, Patch.com reported.
To help stave off memory loss, all it takes is one to two cups of coffee per day. Study participants who drank one or two cups of coffee on a regular basis were less likely to show signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a loss of thinking and memory. Individuals who consumed more than two cups of coffee per day — or no coffee at all — were more at risk for MCI.
“These findings from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging suggested that cognitively normal older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI,” the study explained.
So how does coffee help ward off memory loss — and why does too much coffee reverse these beneficial effects?
The study alleges that the caffeine found in coffee may have a “neuroprotective” effect on the brain that staves off memory loss. However, the researchers stressed that moderation is key when it comes to unlocking coffee’s neurological benefits.
The University of Bari Aldo Moro researchers also outlined the need for more research on coffee’s benefits for the brain. Further studies, for example, could help determine coffee’s effect on younger brains; currently, approximately half a million Americans younger than 65 have developed dementia in some capacity.
“Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged, addressing other potential bias and confounding sources, so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” the study concluded.