There are many who believe that coffee is bad for one’s health. If you are of that opinion, you may be surprised to learn that several studies regarding the effects of coffee on health have revealed that, if consumed regularly and in moderation, coffee provides a number of anti-aging benefits.
Protection against brain diseases
Caffeine is a major contributor to the health effects of coffee. It provides coffee-drinkers with protection against certain age-related brain problems, such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and dementia. A study titled “Midlife Coffee and Tea Drinking and the Risk of Late-Life Dementia: A Population-based CAIDE Study”, was conducted at the University of Kuopio in Finland over the course of twenty-one years. Led by associate professor Miia Kivipelto, the researchers’ goal was “to study the association between coffee and tea consumption at midlife and dementia/AD risk in late-life, because the long-term impact of caffeine on the central nervous system was still unknown, and as the pathologic processes leading to Alzheimer’s disease may start decades before the clinical manifestation of the disease.” The study revealed that middle-aged coffee drinkers were less susceptible to dementia and AD during the latter stages of their life compared to non-drinkers.
Coffee has also been shown to prevent the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). This progressive disease is generally age-specific, with the most common victims being those aged 60 and above. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that “higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of PD.”
Improving cognitive functions
Apart from preventing brain diseases and disorders related to age, coffee can also improve cognitive functions in general. A study published in the Psychopharmacology journal revealed that coffee-drinkers performed better on tests of cognitive function (reaction time, incidental verbal memory, and visuo-spatial reasoning) than non-drinkers. A 2006 study conducted at the University of California concluded that coffee has positive effects on the cognitive functions of older adults (aged 72-73).
Whether it’s to prevent the development of age-related disorders or to improve the memory of older adults, including coffee in one’s diet is a good thing. It should be noted, however, that drinking coffee excessively can lead to undesirable effects such as higher blood pressure, anxiety and irritability, as well as gastrointestinal problems. The recommended maximum amount of coffee an average person should drink per day is three cups (less if pregnant or suffering from high blood pressure); anything more than that is considered too much.