Coffee lovers could have something to celebrate after a study indicated that drinking higher amounts of the beverage may help to ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
The Australian team behind the findings say that more research is needed to determine whether drinking coffee could be recommended as a lifestyle change.
The 10-year study of 200 people indicated a link between coffee intake and key markers of Alzheimer’s disease.
Lead investigator Dr Samantha Gardener from Edith Cowan University said: “We found participants with no memory impairments and with higher coffee consumption at the start of the study had lower risk of transitioning to mild cognitive impairment – which often precedes Alzheimer’s disease – or developing Alzheimer’s disease over the course of the study.”
The study showed that coffee intake gave positive results pertaining to certain areas of cognitive function, including planning, self-control, and attention.
In addition, it also appeared to play a role in slowing down the build-up of the amyloid protein in the brain, which is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Gardener said: “It’s a simple thing that people can change. It could be particularly useful for people who are at risk of cognitive decline but haven’t developed any symptoms.
“We might be able to develop some clear guidelines people can follow in middle age and hopefully it could then have a lasting effect.”
She said that if the average cup of coffee made at home is 240g, increasing to two cups a day could potentially lower cognitive decline by eight per cent after 18 months. It could also see a five per cent decrease in amyloid accumulation in the brain over the same time period.
The study was not able to determine the difference between caffeinated and de-caffeinated coffee, or what impact how it is prepared has on brain health. Previous studies have shown that while caffeine has been linked to positive results, it may not be the only contributor to potentially delaying Alzheimer’s disease.
The study has been published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.