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Coffee is so good for you that it might curb your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Published Nov 7th, 2018 11:07PM EST
coffee brain benefits
Image: Frank Jakobi

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We as human have to live with a lot of unfortunate realities, including the fact that a lot of the things we love end up being bad for us. We all know by now that if we binge on tasty treats too much we’ll end up eating ourselves into an early grave, 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.

Recent studies have shown that being a regular coffee drinker can reduce your risk of all kinds of ailments, including heart attack and stroke. Now, a new research effort reveals that dark roast coffee is particularly good at warding off some nasty brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The study, which focused on a specific group of compounds called phenylindanes, emphasizes the benefits of specifying the type of roast you go with for your morning brew. Dark roast, even in its decaffeinated form, is packed with the compounds, which are thought to inhibit the production of a type of protein that is linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both had identical potencies in our initial experimental tests,” Dr. Ross Mancini, lead author of the study, said in a statement. “So we observed early on that its protective effect could not be due to caffeine.”

This is 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.

So, if you’re a coffee fiend, you can feel even better about your habit, and if you’re not, well, maybe it’s time to give it another shot.