The brain is a very delicate organ. And while exercising as well as meditating have been found to help keep the brain young, there are also other things you can do to protect it, such as drinking coffee. Over the last decade, dozens of studies have been made in regards to coffee and the brain. Among these studies, the following three are definitely worth sharing for their breakthrough findings.
The Big Three
First, in a joint study from the National Institute of Aging and Johns Hopkins University, researchers discovered that methylxanthines, such as caffeine “has clear effects on neuronal network activity, promotes sustained cognitive performance and can protect neurons against dysfunction and death in animal models of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.” In that same study, researchers found that when the brain metabolized caffeine, xanthine metabolites were released and were found to “also contribute to the beneficial effects of coffee, tea and cacao on brain health.”
Second, a meta-analysis of 11 studies on how coffee affects brain health showed that both coffee and tea reduced the risks of developing alzheimer’s disease and brain cancer.
Lastly, a novel study at Okayama University, “indicated that intake of coffee components, CA and CGA, enhanced the antioxidative properties of glial cells and prevents rotenone-induced neurodegeneration in both the brain and myenteric plexus.”
In layman’s terms, caffeine makes your brain more flexible and resilient. If you want to keep your brain healthy throughout the years, coffee, tea and cacao should be part of your diet.
How Much Caffeine Should I Consume?
Studies recommend a daily limit intake of 400mg of caffeine within a single dose (1). Therefore you can safely consume four to five cups (8oz/cup) spread out throughout the day. Ideally you consume most of it before to 2pm so that it doesn’t disturb your sleep. This works very well with intermittent fasting as caffeine also helps suppress your appetite. It’s the perfect combo for protecting your brain while also losing fat. For obvious reasons, you should also make an effort to avoid using any sugar or creamers when drinking coffee or tea.
If you’re not a fan of coffee, don’t forget that you can substitute it with dark chocolate or tea. Here’s a helpful chart to help you figure out how much you would need from different sources (2). You can also view a list of popular caffeinated drinks here. Alternatively, there are other brain protective foods you can enjoy.
|Coffee and tea (8-ounce)||caffeine (mg)|
|Coffee, Espresso (2 ounces)||100|
|Tea, brewed, important brands (avg.)||60|
|Tea, brewed, U.S. brands (avg.)||40|
|Coffee, Decaf, brewed||3-4|
|Coffee, Decaf, instant||2-3|
|Dark chocolate (1 oz)||20|
As new research and medical breakthroughs come about, the list of things you can do and eat to protect your brain will keep growing. Just remember to look for things that are convenient for you to do and that you can incorporate into your life.