A daily cup of coffee may be good for the brain.
Latest research shows that drinking coffee daily can protect against the risk of developing Alzheimer's, a degenerative disease that leads to the destruction of memory and other important functions of the brain.
The study, conducted by Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), a not-for-profit organisation, mainly focused on the role of nutrition in preventing Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers analysed previous studies and found that intake of three to five cups of coffee everyday provided about 20 percent protection against Alzheimer's.
However, they also noted that short –term (5 to 10 years) and long-term studies (15 years) had provided conflicting results on this fact.
In a fresh trial conducted by the organisation, researchers analysed health benefits of coffee on 5,000 people. Results showed that coffee provided protection against dementia only for a short- term period.
The study also identified that certain compounds in coffee, mainly caffeine and polyphenols provided the anti-Alzheimer's effect.
Researchers found that caffeine prevented accumulation of beta-amyloid on the brain- the toxic proteins responsible for Alzheimer's disease; and also protected the brain against the formation of neurofibrulary tangles.
Like caffeine, polyphenols like caffeic acid, ferulic acid in coffee prevented inflammation and neuronal deaths and also helped maintain levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter crucial for cognition. Studies conducted on mice showed that polyphenols were highly effective in preventing cognitive deficits.
Researchers said that we get about 67 percent of polyphenols through consumption of coffee.
Experts at the Alzheimer's Society, UK said that more evidence is needed to re-confirm the link.
"The evidence is not conclusive that drinking coffee will help to protect against Alzheimer's disease. Some research suggests that caffeine and antioxidants in coffee may be beneficial but studies in people show mixed results - more research and clinical trials are needed to see if positive effects occur in people over the long term," Jess Smith, Research Officer at Alzheimer's Society said, in a statement.
"There is no single way to reduce your risk of dementia. Exercising frequently, as well as eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding smoking, not drinking in excess, and managing other health conditions can play a role in reducing your risk of dementia," Smith added.
Researchers presented their findings during a satellite symposium held at the 2014 Alzheimer Europe Annual Congress.