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Research looks into whether there’s a potential link between caffeine consumption and incidence of dementia in older women

If you enjoy tucking into your morning cup of coffee, it could hold benefits than just helping you to perk up and face the world.

The results of a new study published in The Journals of Gerontology has found older women who consumed more than 261mg of caffeine per day saw a 36% reduction in the risk of dementia over the 10 years that they were followed up.

This amount is the equivalent of two to three small cups of coffee, five to six cups of tea or seven to eight cans of cola per day.

Ira Driscoll, PhD, who led the study and is a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said:

‘The mounting evidence of caffeine consumption as a potentially protective factor against cognitive impairment is exciting given that caffeine is also an easily modifiable dietary factor with very few contraindications.

‘What is unique about this study is that we had an unprecedented opportunity to examine the relationships between caffeine intake and dementia incidence in a large and well-defined, prospectively-studied cohort of women.’

It’s thought the reason caffeine can help is because it reduces inflammation in the brain, which has been linked to cognitive decline.

The 6,467 women used in the study were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in the US. They were all postmenopausal and aged 65 and older.

‘While we can’t make a direct link between higher caffeine consumption and lower incidence of cognitive impairment and dementia, with further study, we can better quantify its relationship with cognitive health outcomes,’ added Dr Driscoll.

What can we take away from this? Keep enjoying your morning, mid-morning and afternoon cups of coffee – it could be good for you!