For hundreds of years, coffee has been one of the two or three most popular beverages on earth.
In a large scale epidemiological study (National Cancer Institute 2012), men who reported drinking two or three cups of coffee a day were 10 percent less likely to have died than those who didn’t drink coffee, while women drinking the same amount had 13 percent less risk of dying during the study.
Other studies have linked three or four 5-ounce cups of coffee a day with more specific advantages: a reduction in the risk of developing:
- Type 2 diabetes
- basal cell carcinoma (the most common skin cancer)
- cancer recurrence: prostate , oral , breast
And, most importantly (?), animal experiments show that caffeine may reshape the biochemical environment inside our brains in ways that could stave off dementia. In a 2012 study, caffeinated mice regained their ability to form new memories 33 percent faster than uncaffeinated mice. This might be related to adenosine, which both provides energy AND can be destructive under stress; leading to inflammation, disruptive neuron function and neurodegeneration. And in a 2012 Florida study with humans, persons with little or no caffeine circulating in their bloodstreams were far more likely to progress from MCI to full-blown Alzheimer’s than those whose blood indicated they’d had about three cups’ worth of caffeine.
However, we still have so much to learn about the effects of caffeine. “But a cup of coffee “has been popular for a long, long time,” Dr. Freund says, “and there’s probably good reasons for that.” much love.
Adapted from: Reynolds, Gretchen. This is your brain on Coffee. NY Times, June 6 2013.