If you drink coffee, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that caffeine consumption is actually associated with reducing cognitive impairment. Drinking coffee could help to prevent the neural degeneration associated with brain disorders and aging. Caffeine, a drug known for its short-term boost to mental functioning, could have therapeutic value for the preventative care of illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
In a study at London’s National Addiction Centre, higher levels of coffee consumption were associated with improved cognitive performance in seniors. Another study of 4,197 women and 2,820 men that were 65 years and over found that the “The psychostimulant properties of caffeine appear to reduce cognitive decline in women without dementia, especially at higher ages.” The researchers felt that caffeine had potential use in prolonging the period of mild cognitive impairment prior to a diagnosis of dementia.
Scientists have suggested that caffeine can considerably reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). A study at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Honolulu found that higher caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s. These findings do not suggest that caffeinated beverages should be used as a treatment for PD, but simply that caffeine may in some way help to prevent the development of the disease in its early stages.
A comprehensive examination of caffeine consumption at Harvard determined that moderate consumption of caffeine reduced the risk of Parkinson’s among 47,351 men and 88,565 women. Men who drank four to five cups of coffee per day cut the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease almost in half. Women who consumed between one and three cups of coffee per day cut their risk of nearly in half.
Black or green tea would be a better choice of caffeinated beverages since it has neuroprotective properties that can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s, without the risks associated with coffee. A study at the University of Athens and Harokopio University Drinking found that more than one cup of coffee a day increases the risk of heart disease by increasing cardiovascular inflammation.