Can Coffee Prevent Alzheimer's?
Written by Gurleen Khaira
With 450 million coffee cups being consumed per day in the USA, coffee is clearly a very popular drink. Some may drink it simply for its taste, but most people drink coffee to feel more awake and active. It is now possible that coffee offers benefits beyond re-energizing your body as researchers find that coffee also has the ability to improve brain health.
Coffee and Alzheimer’s Researchers have found that drinking moderate volumes of coffee on a daily basis can improve brain health. More specifically, coffee can decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitive decline. Surprisingly, it is not the caffeine content of coffee that leads to this benefit. In fact, it isn't anything in the coffee bean at all, but rather the roasting process. When coffee beans are roasted, they release a compound called phenylindanes. Phenylindanes prevent the buildup of tau and beta-amyloids. The build-up of these substances is what leads to the development of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, by inhibiting the accumulation of such plaques, phenylindanes reduce the risk Alzheimer’s. It is known that the longer the coffee beans are roasted for, the more phenylindanes are produced. Therefore, it is said that dark coffee is most effective at reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
What are Phenylindanes? Of course coffee is not just made of caffeine, but many other components. Chlorogenic acids are one of these components and account for 8% of coffee bean composition. When making light or medium coffee, this chemical breaks down to produce chlorogenic acid lactones, which give the coffee its bitter taste. More notably, when making dark coffee, chlorogenic acids break down to produce phenylindanes during the roasting process. This is what makes dark coffee more bitter than light/medium coffee, and helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Coffee and Brain Health Apart from detering Alzheimer’s, moderate consumption of coffee offers other benefits to brain health and function too. When coffee reaches the brain, it reduces the levels of adenosine produced. Adenosine is the neurotransmitter responsible for making you feel sleepy. Therefore, by decreasing the levels of the neurotransmitter, coffee can help you become more alert. It also inhibits the production of other neurotransmitters, which allows for improved brain function, mood, and reaction time.
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