For those concerned about brain health, coffee should be avoided. According to a new study from the University of South Australia, high coffee consumption is associated with smaller total brain volumes and an increased risk of dementia.
The largest study of its kind, researchers from UniSA’s Australian Centre for Precision Health at SAHMRI and a team of international researchers assessed the effects of coffee on the brain of 17,702 UK Biobank participants. It was found that participants who consumed more than six cups of coffee a day had a 53 percent increased risk of dementia.
This study is the most extensive investigation into the relationship between coffee and the effects it has on the brain. It took brain volume measurements and found connections to the risks of dementia and the risk of stroke. It is also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of health factors.
Researchers consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume. It was established that drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be a risk factor for brain diseases such as dementia and stroke.
Senior investigator Professor Elina Hyppönen said, “This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key.”
“Together with other genetic evidence and a randomized controlled trial, this data strongly suggests that high coffee consumption can adversely affect brain health. While the exact mechanisms are not known, one simple thing we can do is to keep hydrated and remember to drink a bit of water alongside that cup of coffee.”
Risk Factors for Dementia
With an aging population, cases of dementia are expected to rise, so it’s important to understand the risk factors of the disease for treatment and prevention. This degenerative brain condition affects memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Many people typically consume one and two standard cups of coffee a day. Although unit measurements can vary, a couple of cups a day is generally fine if no other health conditions are of concern.
However, for those who are drinking upwards of six cups of coffee a day, it is essential to understand the risk of dementia and stroke. Moderation is key, so a couple of cups of coffee a day are ok, but researchers suggest replacing coffee with another beverage after consuming more than two cups.