Alzheimer’s is a disease nobody wants to get but nearly everybody thinks about at some point. It doesn’t have a cure, only making it that much more worrisome. But it turns out there are everyday things you can do to help lessen your chances of getting the disease. And drinking coffee is one of them.
There’s no harm in going for that second — or third — cup. | John_Kasawa/iStock/Getty Images
How does Alzheimer’s develop?
The development of Alzheimer’s is complicated. There isn’t too much evidence to suggest how the disease chooses its victims, but some evidence shows it could be in genetics. A recent study found that a woman’s pregnancy might also offer telling signs of whether she’ll contract the disease.
When somebody has Alzheimer’s, their brain cells are dying. Plaques start to form, which blocks the neurons from passing signals to one another. Protein tangles might also form, causing neurons to malfunction as well. When these neurons can’t function properly, they die. As you start to lose brain cells, your cognitive skills will decline, which is when symptoms of Alzheimer’s set in. Over time, you will lose your memory, problem solving skills, and eventually your physical abilities, too. While there are some medications that may slow the progression of the disease, there is nothing that can be done to stop it. However, there may be ways to prevent it.
Your morning cup of joe may prevent Alzheimer’s
One thing you can do to potentially prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s is drink coffee. Recent research has found that certain levels of caffeine may help reduce beta amyloid levels in humans. Beta amyloid is a protein fragment that creates the plaque on the neurons, which eventually causes them to die. The study was done on mice but showed that caffeine levels in coffee could rid the body of these proteins. It had the ability of reducing one’s Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 50%.
According to Alzheimers.net, another study showed that drinking three cups of coffee per day could also slow mild cognitive impairment in older adults. Mild cognitive impairment is essentially the stage before full dementia. Drinking coffee appeared to help slow, and sometimes even stop, the symptoms from worsening into dementia. The researchers concluded that caffeine was what slowed these symptoms and delayed or prevented a full diagnosis.
The study involved women, and it appears the sweet spot for Alzheimer’s prevention falls somewhere between two and three eight-ounce cups daily. If you’re more of a tea drinker, it’s five to six cups of black tea daily.
Coffee also has several other health benefits
Coffee’s benefits don’t stop at Alzheimer’s and dementia prevention. Coffee may actually reduce your risk of death. According to Harvard Medical School, those who drink coffee regularly have as much as a 15% lower chance of early death. Several studies have been performed to check the health benefits of coffee, and almost all of them have resulted in good news. Research shows coffee may prevent heart disease and diabetes, certain cancers, such as uterine and liver cancer, as well as cirrhosis. If you’re looking for a reason to grab another cup of coffee, think of it this way: You might just live longer.
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