Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide. It is estimated that in 2019/2020 world coffee consumption amounted to about 10.1 million kg. It is usually identified as a stimulant because of a high content of caffeine. However, caffeine is not the only coffee bioactive component. The coffee beverage is in fact a mixture of a number of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, especially chlorogenic acids (in green beans) and caffeic acid (in roasted coffee beans) and alkaloids (caffeine and trigonelline).
Extensive research shows that coffee consumption appears to have beneficial effects on human health. Coffee possesses antioxidants (especially the medium-roasted coffee) and antiinflammatory properties and limits the overall risk of stroke and coronary heart disease, cancer, mortality associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
The multidirectional effects of coffee in human health and body are due to the fact that it is a complex mixture of bioactive ingredients and both nutrients and non-nutrients which act together.
What Does Research Studies Have Found?
A study from 2009 by a team of Swedish and Danish researchers, published in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease tracked coffee consumption in a group of 1,409 middle-age men and women for an average of 21 years. After controlling for numerous socioeconomic and health factors, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the scientists found that the subjects who had reported drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 65 percent less likely to have developed dementia, compared with those who drank two cups or less.
They also found that people who drank more than 5 cups a day also were at reduced risk of dementia, but there were not enough people in this group to draw statistically significant conclusions.
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in October of this year, evaluated the potential preventive factors for dementia of coffee, green tea and caffeine. The study was a cohort study with an 8 year follow up. Participants were community-dwelling individuals aged 40-74 years and included 13,757 individuals. A self-administered questionnaire was conducted from 2011 to 2013.
The number of dementia cases during the study period was 309. They found that participants who consumed 2-3 cups per day and more than 3 cups per day had lower risk of developing dementia compared with those who consumed 0 cups per day.
The association between green tea consumption and reduced dementia risk was significant (adjusted p for trend = 0.0146) only in the 60–69 years age subgroup.
The researchers concluded that high levels of coffee and caffeine consumption were significantly associated with a reduced dementia risk in a dose-dependent manner, especially in men and that coffee consumption of ≥3 cups/day was associated with a 50% reduction in dementia risk.
As we can see, drinking coffee has many health benefits. And as David Lynch once said:”Ëven bad coffee is better than no coffee at all”.
Nana Matsushita, et al. Association of coffee, green tea, and caffeine with the risk of dementia in older Japanese people. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Oct 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.17407.
Socała K, Szopa A, Serefko A, Poleszak E, Wlaź P. Neuroprotective Effects of Coffee Bioactive Compounds: A Review. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;22(1):107. Published 2020 Dec 24. doi:10.3390/ijms22010107
Nicholas Bakalar (2009, Jan 23) Coffee Linked to Lower Dementia Risk. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/24/health/research/24coffee.html