Drinking one or two cups of coffee a day can protect the brain against a precursor to dementia, a new study finds.
More coffee, though, does not lead to a higher neuro-protective effect.
In fact, the study found that people who increased their consumption by a cup or two had twice the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
MCI is a common precursor to developing forms of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease.
Symptoms of MCI include minor memory problems and slowed thinking and judgement.
The Italian study of 1,445 people also found that people not drinking coffee were at higher risk than those who drank moderate amounts.
The study’s authors write:
“These findings from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging suggested that cognitively normal older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee and those who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI.
Therefore, moderate and regular coffee consumption may have neuroprotective effects also against MCI confirming previous studies on the long-term protective effects of coffee, tea, or caffeine consumption and plasma levels of caffeine against cognitive decline and dementia,”
Participants in the study were aged 65 to 84-years-old.
They were followed up over an average of 3.5 years to see if they had developed any thinking problems.
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (Solfrizzi et al., 2015).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Image credit: Eric