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A cup of coffee to improve cognitive function

A cup of coffee to improve cognitive function

February 13, 2021
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From the coffee pot you can smell a warm and fascinating scent that awakens even the late risers, a full aroma that makes coffee one of the most popular morning rituals. And, as we can learn thanks to a very recent scientific research, also one of the healthiest morning rituals, capable of protecting the brain, improving its performance and counteracting depression, even in the presence of alterations in cerebral blood flow. The research was published in Nutrients magazine thanks to the work of an Italian team from the University of Catania (Fisicaro et al, Nutrients, 2021).

Poor cerebral blood circulation can cause impaired cognitive performance and depression. This condition is linked to advancing age and can be worsened by diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and heart disease. Up to now, scientific researches disagree about the neuroprotective role of coffee, in fact, while demonstrating a beneficial action on cognitive capacity, this has not been observed in all areas of the brain. In addition to this, many studies had not carried out an in-depth study assessment of the brain health of volunteers. Therefore, to shed light on the possible beneficial role of coffee on the brain and its functionality, the researchers recruited 300 people, aged over 65 and, as assessed in the hospital, with impaired cerebral blood flow. Participants in the study were asked to undergo in-depth examinations, tests and investigations, to evaluate their lifestyle, their diet, their coffee habits and cognitive function. Finally, the volunteers underwent nuclear magnetic resonance imaging. What emerged was that heavy coffee drinkers, more than three cups a day, had the highest score on tests aimed at assessing cognitive function. Not only that, those who drank more coffee, two to three cups a day, also had a lower risk of developing depression. In general, the number of cups of coffee drunk was directly proportional to the brain's ability to concentrate, process and react.

The study is certainly very interesting, however some clarifications must be made. The study in question analyzes the effect of mocha coffee prepared with the mocha pot, a type of coffee maker, which is certainly one of the best known and most popular methods when it comes to preparing coffee at home. This method, unlike other procedures such as the extraction of coffee by boiling, allows to reduce the amount of fat in the final drink even if it slightly decreases the amount of antioxidants. Therefore, even if other studies will have to confirm it, it is likely to expect a similar neuroprotective effect for coffee prepared by other methods. Then, it is important to add another thing, tobacco reduces the action of coffee and the substances that compose it and therefore smokers will be able to benefit less from this drink ... another good reason to abandon this habit.

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