Wake Up to the Brain Benefits of Coffee

Aaaaah coffee. You may be attracted the smell or taste or even the cherished ritual of holding a warm cup in the morning. Some might rely on a little caffeine to wake up and start the day. Whatever your motivation, you can also add the pleasure of knowing, your coffee cup may contain health benefits- even for your brain.

Coffee Lab

New evidence suggests that coffee can potentially benefit your liver, prevent several types of cancer, help with Type 2 Diabetes and possibly protect against brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. But why?

Is it the caffeine or other chemical compounds responsible for its noted health benefits? And how are these coffee compounds possibly affecting the brain structure to protect it?

In a recent study, scientists explored the different compounds naturally found in coffee and three types of instant coffee: light roast, dark roast and dark roast decaf. In a laboratory (not people), they investigated how these coffee compounds impacted the brain proteins that are associated with the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. They discovered pure caffeine had no effect while one of the components found in dark roast coffee inhibited the formation and clumping of the two proteins (Beta amyloid and tau) linked to Alzheimer’s disease – a coffee break (through) for brain health researchers.

Coffee or Tea?

While scientist ponder these coffee clues, you can simply enjoy your cup of java, up to 3 cups a day. Just remember to limit sugar and high-fat milk/cream. And if you feel jittery or unable to sleep, caffeinated coffee may not be right for you.

Tea lover instead? Black and green teas contain brain-boosting antioxidants, but don’t rush the brewing time. Give your tea plenty of time to steep, to maximize it’s brain health benefits.

Learn more about foods and beverages for brain health at Healthy Brains: Food & Nutrition Pillar.