Coffee Can Prevent Dementia & Alzheimer's disease
Caffeine has well-known short-term stimulating effects on central nervous system, but the long-term impacts on cognition have been less clear. Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD) are rapidly increasing public health problems in aging populations and at the moment curative treatment is lacking.
Caffeine is not the only factor that contributes to the development of dementia. Coffee itself is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
This is not the first study to suggest that coffee may have therapeutic potential for cognitive function. The psychostimulant properties of caffeine have demonstrated reduced or delayed cognitive decline, especially among older people. But, it is still not clear if it is coffee, caffeine, or a combination of the two that provide the protection. In one study, caffeine solution (not coffee) and decaffeinated coffee did not show protective effects on cognition, while regular, caffeinated coffee did, suggesting that there are other components in coffee that synergize with caffeine to ward off dementia.
For now, older adults at risk for dementia should not replace all other drinks with coffee (there are other health risks associated with that much coffee consumption!), but an extra cup of coffee with some friends could do more good than harm.
Reference: J Nutr Health Aging. Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and prevention of late-life cognitive decline and dementia: a systematic review. 2015.