Good News, Java Lovers: Science Says Coffee Can Protect Your Brain from Dementia

Updated: Apr. 24, 2017

Based on a new study, you may want to make more time for coffee breaks.

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For many, coffee is a much-needed boost of energy. Whether you enjoy a cup in the morning to help you open your eyes or prefer to grab a refill in the afternoon to stay alert at your desk, coffee is a miracle drug, full of surprising health benefits. While you always need to be aware of the signs of too much caffeine consumption, a brand-new study found enjoying multiple cups a day will bring you health benefits much later in life.

What is the benefit of coffee?

A study conducted by researchers from the University Wisconsin-Milwaukee found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day may have better brain functioning, later in life, Insider reports. For their investigation, researchers wanted to find if there were benefits in brain function when it came to postmenopausal women who drink coffee. They wanted to determine if caffeine would cause a delay in or help ward off dementia and mental decline over a ten-year period.

In order to complete the study, 6,467 women were recruited during a period of 1995 to 1999 from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, a randomized control clinic that specializes in postmenopausal hormone therapy. From the moment they were recruited until 2007, participants were tested every year on their cognitive function. Their caffeine intake was measured at the study’s start and then two more times.

At the study’s conclusion, it was found that those who consumed around two to three cups of coffee a day had fewer instances of cognitive impairment. According to researchers, this doesn’t mean that coffee will outright stop dementia. Rather, they wrote that “Our findings suggesting lower risk of PD [probable dementia] incidence in women with higher caffeine consumption are generally consistent with the literature.”

According to Insider, previous research, including a study in the journal Neurology determined that the “psychostimulant properties of caffeine appear to reduce cognitive decline in women over age 65.” For the previous study, women drank more than three cups of coffee per day, and demonstrated “less cognitive decline over four years” than women who drank one cup of coffee or none at all.

What about men?

Unfortunately for men, there’s no supporting evidence that coffee will provide the same benefits. Past research has found inconclusive results. Despite even the minimal results this study presented for women, researchers are remaining positive about the benefits of grabbing another cup of Joe.

In a press release, Ira Driscoll, PhD, the study’s lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said, “The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications.”

So go ahead and pour that second cup.