We as humans tend to have to live with a lot of unfortunate realities that we sometimes like to push out of our memories, including the fact that a lot of the things we love may end up being bad for us in the long run. We all know by now that if we form a habit of binging on snacks and tasty treats too much, we’ll end up eating ourselves into various health concerns, but in recent years, it’s become increasingly clear that coffee, a well-known vice of millions and millions of people, is actually pretty good for you, despite years and years of prior concern.
In a new study that was recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience , researchers suggest that drinking coffee might reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, USA TODAY reported.
According to the study, the darker the roast, the better. Researchers found that it’s not necessarily the caffeine that keeps your brain healthy – it’s actually the phenylindanes which are found in higher quantities in darker roast coffees that are the key to a healthy brain. Why? because phenylindanes are known to prevent two protein fragments common to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, says MindBodyGreen.
“Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease,” Donald Weaver, co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute and one of the study’s authors, said in a press release about the study. “But we wanted to investigate why that is — which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline.”
Phenylindanes are the only compound investigated in the study that keep the two protein fragments common to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s from clumping, according to the press release about the study. Roasting coffee beans leads to a higher yield of phenylindanes, so dark roast coffee appears to have a greater protective effect.
“It’s the first time anybody’s investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Ross Mancini, another author of the study, was quoted as saying in the press release. “The next step would be to investigate how beneficial these compounds are and whether they have the ability to enter the bloodstream or cross the blood-brain barrier.”
While the new discovery is great news for coffee-lovers all around the world, its not the first . of its kind.
In January 2018, a study was published in the journal Neurology that found decaffeinated coffee offered no protective benefits to Parkinson’s patients, findings that are in opposition to this new study. The researchers concluded that it was the caffeine, not any compounds found within coffee, that offered pharmacological benefits, according to the study, while the new research found the opposite.
As for this latest study on coffee’s power to protect your brain, the researchers said that they need to do more research before they can truly tap into the therapeutic benefits.
“What this study does is take the epidemiological evidence and try to refine it and to demonstrate that there are indeed components within coffee that are beneficial to warding off cognitive decline,” Weaver was quoted as saying. “It’s interesting but are we suggesting that coffee is a cure? Absolutely not.”
This is however great news for would-be coffee drinkers who would love to reap the benefits from the beverage but dislike the jittery feeling they get from indulging. However, if you love your highly caffeinated morning brew just as it is, you’ll still be getting plenty of benefits, even if you don’t specify dark roast. The idea is that the coffee roasting process is what’s creating the compounds, meaning the longer the beans are cooked, the more beneficial compounds find their way into the resulting beverage.