People often question whether or not coffee is good for them. Some reports say coffee is good for you, while other claim it's not. In recent years, however, there seems to be more and more positive data coming out on coffee.
Me, I love coffee! Well, perhaps love is too strong a word. Umm, on second thought, maybe not! I do love coffee..
I started using coffee to stay awake at work back when I was in college (a lonnnng time ago!). During that time, I went to school by day and worked by night.
Nowadays, I drink a cup or two first thing in the morning (and add coconut oil). It wakes me up and gets my brain ready for the day.
I love the smell of coffee brewing! Just the smell of it helps wake me up!
I went through a period of time when I was kind of picky with coffee. I had a special machine, special beans, special grinder, and had a certain technique on packing the coffee grounds just prior to making my espresso. Nowadays, I'm not so picky .. I really don't care where it comes from or even how it's made (..within reason).
While researching and blogging about brain health and fitness, I've come across numerous studies on coffee and it's impact on health. Some have said it's bad for you, others say it prevents bad stuff from happening..
As scientists do more research, their findings evolve over time. For instance, for a very long time eggs were bad for you, now they're saying it's the perfect food!
So, what does the latest research have to say about coffee?
Coffee Helps Improve Memory
Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins, and his team of scientists found that caffeine has a positive effect on our long-term memory for up to 24 hours after it is consumed. Their research was published in 2014 by the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Coffee Helps Lower Risk Of Dementia And Other Age-Related Cognitive Decline
To test the relationship between caffeine and dementia, Ira Driscoll, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and some colleagues analyzed data from 6,467 women age 65 and older who were followed over 10 years. Their findings were published in 2016.
The team found that the women who reported consuming the most caffeine, the amount in two to three cups of coffee of 8 fluid ounces, or five to six 8-ounce cups of black tee, were the least likely to develop dementia or impaired cognition. Overall, the higher caffeinated group reduced their risk of dementia by 36 percent, Driscoll says. The women who consumed the least caffeine, (less than a single cup of coffee), were most likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
In another study, published in 2010 by the University of Eastern Finland, it was found that drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day in midlife was associated with a 65% decreased risk of developing dementia in late-life.
Coffee Lowers Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
First of all, people with diabetes have been found to have:
- Higher risk of losing more brain volume than is expected as they age
- Twice the risk of developing dementia
In a report published in 2014, it was shown that increasing daily coffee consumption can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The researchers for the report gathered data from three different studies, some lasting over 20 years.
The study participants included:
- 48,464 women in the Brigham and Women's Hospital-based Nurses' Health Study (1986-2006)
- 47,510 women in the Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2007)
- 27,759 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2006).
In these studies, the diets of the participants were evaluated using questionnaires every 4 years, with participants who reported having type 2 diabetes filling out additional questionnaires.
"These findings further demonstrate that, for most people, coffee may have health benefits," adds Frank Hu, senior author and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
Warning – Too Much of A Good Thing May Harm You!
The Mayo Clinic states that consuming more than 4 cups of caffeine a day may lead to insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, an upset stomach, a fast heartbeat and even muscle tremors.
According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in 4 cups of brewed coffee.
So What Do We Do With This Information?
If you're already a coffee drinker, as long as you're drinking 4 or fewer cups of coffee a day, no worries according to the latest research. There are plenty of brain and overall health benefits to be had by staying the course.
In fact, if you want to add even more brain boosting benefit to your coffee, consider adding coconut oil to your brew.
If you're not already one of the 50% of folks who drink coffee, you might want to give it a try!