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Coffee Drinkers Have More than One Reason to Perk Up

January 14, 2014
Find Rob Masterson, RD, CNSC on Twitter @RobMastersonRD

Whether you drink it to get a lift each morning, to maintain focus during a late-night study session or simply to enjoy the taste, coffee (and the caffeine found in it) has long been documented for its stimulating effects. But that’s not the only benefit coffee can provide – that’s good news for the millions around the world who drink it, including the estimated 83% of adults in America1.

Recently, a study examined the effect of caffeine and memory.  Specifically, the human brain’s ability to discriminate between similar but non-identical images or items in a process known as pattern separation. During the study, participants studied a series of images and were then either given a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet (about the equivalent amount found in a cup of coffee) five minutes later.

Coffee

The researchers ultimately found that caffeine appears to have the cognitive-enhancing ability to improve certain memories at least up to 24 hours after consumption.

In another recent study, researchers debunked the popular wives’ tale that caffeinated beverages, including coffee, can lead to dehydration even at moderate consumption due to the diuretic effect of caffeine. The results of this study, although noted to be limited in its design by the researchers themselves, concluded that caffeine in moderate amounts (up to four cups per day) did not pose a detrimental effect in regards to hydration status and was actually quite similar to that of water.

Among the other health benefits coffee can potentially provide include a reduced risk of stroke2, lowered risk of type II diabetes3, protection from cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia4, as well as a decreased risk of certain types of cancer5.

References

  1. “Home – National Coffee Association.” Home – National Coffee Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2014. <http://www.ncausa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=731&gt;.
  2. Kokubo, Yoshihiro . “The Impact of Green Tea and Coffee Consumption on the Reduced Risk of Stroke Incidence in Japanese Population: The Japan Public Health Center-Based Study Cohort.”Stroke 44 (2013): n. pag.  Stroke. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
  3. van Dam, Rob, and Frank Hu. “Coffee Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes A Systematic Review .” The Journal of the American Medical Association 294.1 (2005): 97. JAMA. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
  4. Eskelinen, Marjo, and Miia Kivipeltoa. “Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 20 (2010): S167–S174. Print.
  5. Sinha, Rashmi, and Amanda Cross. “Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tea intakes and risk of colorectal cancer in a large prospective study.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 99.1 (2012): n. pag. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Web. 13 Jan. 2014.
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