The risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) seemed to decrease for people “who consistently drank about one or two cups of coffee per day,” according to Healthday. Overall, however, researchers found that “older individuals who never or rarely consumed coffee as well as coffee drinkers who increased their coffee consumption habits had a higher risk of developing MCI” compared to coffee drinkers who kept their intake consistent and moderate.
So how does coffee effect neurological health? Authors of the study believe that the caffeine in coffee protects the brain from “the buildup of amyloid protein plaques, long linked to Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers also found that moderate coffee drinking may help an older brain by increasing insulin sensitivity thereby “decreasing the risk for type 2 diabetes.”
Dr. Vincenzo Solfrizz, who led the study, noted more research would be needed to support the theory that coffee can combat mental decline.
“Larger studies with longer follow-up periods should be encouraged … so hopefully opening new ways for diet-related prevention of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” the Italian reseachers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, said to Healthday.