While it’s understandable why some people who feel overly dependent on a cup of java might want to give up coffee despite—or perhaps because of—their desperate need for it, there are plenty of benefits that you can enjoy if you drink a reasonable amount of coffee on a regular basis.
Along with coffee habits that can help with inflammation, coffee can even increase your lifespan. Beyond that, you’re surely aware of the fact that it can give both your brain and body a boost by amping up your alertness and energy level. At the same time, it turns out that coffee can also keep your brain younger.
In a study that was recently published in Nutritional Neuroscience, information was collected from National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys that took place from 2011 to 2014. The data focused on the relationship between caffeine and cognitive function in the 827 participants who were all 60 years old or older. The results showed that caffeine helped to prevent cognitive function from getting worse over time.
“The more that coffee is studied, the more often health benefits are elucidated from coffee,” Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, senior clinical dietitian at UCLA medical center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding school of public health, tells Eat This, Not That!.
When it comes to how coffee benefits the brain beyond the mere boost from caffeine, Hunnes explains that the beverage “has a lot of polyphenols and antioxidants in it that are anti-inflammatory and likely play a role in reducing the risk of cognitive impairment.”
As for how much coffee you might want to drink to see this kind of potentially positive effect, Hunnes says “most studies on coffee benefits point to three to four cups per day as the optimal dose.” However, she adds that “these are six to eight-ounce cups of coffee, not 20-ounce ventis.” It’s also important to note that “benefits occur most” when you opt for coffee that’s “taken black or with minimal additives.”
To find out more about how to keep your cognitive function super sharp, be sure to read The #1 Best Eating Habit for Your Brain, Says Science.