A recent study conducted in Hamburg, Germany, examined the relationship between coffee consumption and brain structure. The study involved over 2,000 people aged 45 to 74 who reported drinking coffee regularly in varying quantities.
The researchers compared four groups of individuals: those who drank less than one cup a day, those who drank 1-2 cups a day, those who drank 3-4 cups a day, and those who consumed 5-6 cups of coffee per day. The results showed that those who drank three to four cups of coffee per day had the strongest brain structure when looking at several factors including preserved cortical thickness, which is associated with higher intelligence.
However, the study design was not perfect as the group was relatively small and homogeneous. The authors noted that those who drank more coffee were healthier and more educated at baseline, so these potential confounding factors cannot be ruled out. They also suggested that more research is needed to determine whether decaffeinated coffee has similar effects.
Despite these limitations, the findings add to the growing body of evidence supporting the idea that coffee is good for the brain and overall health. Coffee has been shown to slow cognitive decline and potentially reduce the risks of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. A 2017 meta-analysis found that coffee reduces the incidence of cardiovascular and other diseases as well as neurological, metabolic and liver conditions. While not all studies looked at exact numbers of cups, some suggest a threshold of three to four cups for optimal benefit.
It is important to note that caffeine can cause nervousness, anxiety or heart palpitations in some individuals, so it is advised not to consume caffeine if you experience these symptoms. Other ways to support brain health on a daily basis include prioritizing sleep, being active and learning new things.