What if the doctor tells you, as a medicine, to have a cup of coffee? We have not yet reached this point, other research is needed, but certainly the road taken brings out interesting health properties of this beloved drink. So interesting that now we know that it is even able to protect the brain from Alzheimer's. We can learn how beneficial coffee can be not only on the overall health of the body but also on that of the brain thanks to a recent review published in the journal Cureus by an American team (Wasim et al, Cureus, 2020).
Coffee and its beneficial properties
Coffee contains more than a thousand compounds, such as caffeine, chlorogenic acid, polyphenols, flavonoids and other substances that act in synergy with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties. Coffee has been observed to improve liver, endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive system health, it protects the brain and its functionality. The daily amount of coffee that has shown the greatest benefits is from two to four cups, above this value, on the other hand, there are more side effects such as anxiety, tachycardia, insomnia and nervousness.
How coffee can protect against Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and depression
The review we are talking about today focused on the impact of coffee on neurodegenerative diseases and brain function. Coffee, but the one containing caffeine, not the decaffeinated version, improves cognitive performance and increases memory. Not only that, the number of cups of coffee drunk is inversely proportional to the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's over the years. It seems that caffeine is able to reduce the accumulation of beta amyloid proteins in the brain, the main feature of Alzheimer's disease. Three cups of coffee a day are also protective against Parkinson's disease. This protective effect acts both in the prevention of the disease and in the alleviation of symptoms, when the disease is already in progress. In particular, coffee seems to improve a typical sign of Parkinson's, which is akinesia and that is difficulty in movements. However, this happens only for a limited number of months until the person is no longer sensitive to the action of coffee. At this point, a break in coffee and caffeine intake can restore the beneficial action seen. Finally, coffee seems to improve mood and counteract depression.
Coffee in a healthy and varied diet
The exact mechanism by which coffee acts on the brain has not yet been fully understood due to the incredible amount of substances contained in this drink and which act for well-being. However, one thing is certain, for it to have a protective effect it is necessary to include coffee in a varied diet and not to exceed the quantity, to avoid unpleasant unwanted effects such as an increase in nervousness.