Coffee is one of the Germans’ favourite drinks. It awakens energy, motivates and stimulates. But what was previously unknown was that coffee protects our brain from dementia diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The more roasted the beans, the more effective their protective function, reports a Canadian research team in a recent study.
Contrary to earlier assumptions, more and more health benefits of drinking coffee are coming to light. Researchers at the Canadian Krembil Research Institute in Toronto recently found that coffee consumption reduces the likelihood of developing dementia such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. The protective effect seems to be due in particular to compounds formed during the roasting process of coffee beans. The study results were recently published in the journal “Frontiers in Neuroscience”.
Coffee – better than its reputation
Is coffee healthy or harmful to health? This question has been the subject of numerous studies in recent years. In the past, coffee was considered unhealthy because it was said to have a dehydrating effect, which is now considered to be disproved. In fact, coffee is healthier than most people think. It has a calming and stimulating effect and is said to prevent type II diabetes and heart disease. The latest research also suggests that coffee can protect our brain from neurodegenerative diseases. However, high coffee consumption can also contribute to hyperacidity and thus promote stomach problems and reflux.
Roasting has a protective effect
A Canadian science team has proven that drinking certain types of coffee can be beneficial to brain health. But how does the popular hot drink support cognitive function? The researchers found the basis of the protective mechanisms not in caffeine, but in compounds released during the roasting of coffee beans.
The same effect for decaffeinated coffee
A strongly roasted caffeine-containing coffee was examined, as well as a strongly roasted decaffeinated coffee and a mildly roasted caffeine-containing coffee. The team found that the strongly roasted varieties have a stronger protective effect, independent of the caffeine. In further tests, a number of compounds, the so-called phenylindanes, were found to be responsible for the positive effect. These compounds form during the roasting process and give the coffee its typical bitter taste.
How do the roasting compounds protect our brain?
According to researchers, the roasting compounds in coffee ensure that less toxic proteins can combine in the brain. These so-called dew and beta amyloid proteins are deposited as plaque in the brain and are considered to trigger neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The long roasting process is decisive
As the research team emphasizes, a long roasting time is particularly responsible for the formation of the protective roasting compounds. It does not matter whether the coffee has been decaffeinated or not. The strongest protective effect on the brain therefore comes from the dark roasted varieties.
Mother nature is the best chemist
The Canadian team is enthusiastic about the discovery, especially as the protective effect comes from a completely natural process. This process does not require synthesis in the laboratory and makes the active substance easily producible and widely accessible. “Mother Nature is a much better chemist than we are,” explains Dr. Ross Mancini, one of the leading scientists in the study, in a press release on the study results.
Is coffee now a cure for dementia?
“This study was intended to show that there are actually components in coffee that are useful in defending against cognitive decline,” Mancini sums up. These processes are very interesting, but it is still too early to declare coffee a cure, the expert warns.