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 Coffee drinking at midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia/AD later in life. After an average follow-up of 21 years, 1409 individuals (71%) aged 65 to 79 completed the re-examination in 1998. A total of 61 cases were identified as demented (48 with AD). Coffee drinkers at midlife had lower risk of dementia and AD later in life compared with those drinking no or only a little coffee. The lowest risk (65% decreased) was found in people who drank 3-5 cups per day. (J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jan;16(1):85-91)
Reduces Parkinson's risk ...Alzheimers; Source: Alzheimers newsletter:

Coffee did not prevent mental decline in elderly - This study did not justify coffee drinking (added 9/2009)

A 2005 study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania indicates coffee is one of the leading dietary sources of antioxidants for Americans. Researchers analyzed 100 of the most common food items in the American diet and found coffee led the pack, contributing 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants to the average American each day. Tea was a distant second (294 mg.) and bananas fell into third place (72mg.). The results were based on average daily consumption of these food products, and researchers were quick to note that coffee, which can also increase cholesterol levels, should not be substituted for a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables and should only be consumed in moderation. The study also cautions that high antioxidant levels in foods and beverages don't necessarily translate into levels found in the body. The potential health benefits of these antioxidants ultimately depends on how they are absorbed and utilized in the body, a process that is still poorly understood.

[site editor note: first, note this study relates to actual US consumption, which just means many people drink lots of coffee, not that coffee has a useful mixture of antioxidants that vitamins C and E provide, not that coffee is necessarily good for your health in the large quantities many people consume. For instance:] From Charalambos Vlachopoulos, et al Chronic coffee consumption has a detrimental effect on aortic stiffness and wave reflections Am J Clin Nutr 2005 81: 1307-1312. Conclusions: Chronic coffee consumption exerts a detrimental effect on aortic stiffness and wave reflections, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. [Study compared drinking no coffee vs. 1 cup a day vs. 2 cups a day vs. more than that. Impact on blood pressure went from 3.4 to 7.7 to 8.0 mm Hg, which was the maximum even for those exceeding 2 cups a day.]

For details, see the page on caffeine. Also look at this research poster about the pros and cons of coffee.


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