Caffeine: the impact on your memory

Cup of coffee with coffee beans
Cup of coffee with coffee beans

Used in moderation, coffee can be a great drink to enjoy after every meal. Like tea and cocoa, this beverage also contains antioxidants that can help prevent certain chronic diseases of lifestyle.

Now, a study by the American Academy of Neurology from August 2007 shows that caffeine can help women as they get older to keep their thinking and problem-solving skills. The women in the study drank at least three cups a day and there were fewer declines seen in mental capacities over time, compared with women who drank no coffee at all or only one cup per day.

Interestingly, the researchers didn't obtain the same results in men. In fact, caffeine made no notable difference in terms of their memory.

How the study was done

The study, by the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research, was conducted with over 7000 participants. Each was quizzed on their daily intake of tea, coffee and cocoa, all of which contain caffeine.

Subjects were also asked about their health and any medication they were taking. They were then put through a barrage of tests for memory and mental capacity, and were tested again two and four years after the initial tests were done.

The women who drank more than three cups of coffee a day were less likely to show decline in memory, and these benefits seemed to increase over time.

More than just a memory boost

Furthermore, a 2004 Harvard University study on diabetes and coffee showed that coffee does offer some protection against the condition, especially in terms of a decreased risk for women to develop diabetes type 2. Coffee also seems to protect against Parkinson's and liver problems.

Experiments are still being done to explain exactly how coffee actually protects against these and several other diseases, although most of the theories are centred on the beverage's high antioxidant content.

- (Article by, February 2009)

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