Drinking coffee can reduce the risk of cognitive disorders, says study

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Given the dramatic increasing of elderly people in the world, age-related cognitive disorders, such as cognitive decline, cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, will soon become one of the leading health concerns globally.

These cognitive disorders are not easy to be treated via medicine. Therefore, scientists are trying to find lifestyle factors that can reduce or prevent cognitive disorders.

Now, a recent study published in Clinical Nutrition shows that drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of cognitive disorders. Specifically, researchers focus on how many cups of coffee can have the best effect.

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis on 9 prospective cohort studies involving 34,282 participants. In these studies, people who had different amount of coffee every day were examined over a long period to see their cognitive conditions.

Researchers divided all participants into 3 groups: people who had coffee > 3 cups/day, people who had coffee 1-2 cups/day, and people who had coffee < 1 cup/day.

Compared with people had coffee < 1 cup/day, daily drink of 1-2 cups of coffee was inversely linked with occurrence of cognitive disorders.

However, no difference was found between people who had coffee > 3 cups/day and people who had coffee < 1 cup/day.

A further analysis showed a “J-shaped” curve relation between coffee intake and risk of cognitive disorders, that is, drinking 1-2 cups of coffee daily had the lowest risk, while having more coffee did not reduce the risk much.

Researchers suggest that coffee contains many chemical components, such as caffeine, phyto-chemicals, and minerals. Caffeine is a neuro-stimulatory substance and has been considered as a main beneficial substance.

Studies in both human and animals show that caffeine may improve memory and concentration. Importantly, a moderate amount of caffeine can increase memory performance, but excessive caffeine could harm normal memory function in animals.

Based on the finding, researchers suggest a daily drinking of 1-2 cups of coffee to reduce the risk of cognitive disorders. Future research will test how coffee type, drinking time, coffee cup size, and other dietary factors work together to help prevent cognitive disorders.


Citation: Wu L, et al. (2016). Coffee intake and the incident risk of cognitive disorders: A dose-response meta-analysis of nine prospective cohort studies. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2016.05.015
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