Dementia: Drinking a warm beverage in ‘midlife’ may reduce risk of dementia by up to 65%

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One of the primary aims of dementia research is to identify the lifestyle decisions that can modify the risk long before its onset. Considerable gains have been made in this space. Although the link between diet and brain decline is complex, significant associations between what we put in our bodies and the risk of developing dementia have been found.

One notable study linked coffee drinking in “midlife” to reduced risk of developing dementia later on.

“Caffeine stimulates central nervous system on a short term,” the study researchers wrote in their introduction.

“However, the long-term impact of caffeine on cognition remains unclear.”

To fill this gap in knowledge, the researchers aimed to study the association between coffee and/or tea consumption at midlife and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease risk in late-life.

Participants of the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Dementia (CAIDE) study were randomly selected for the study.

CAIDE was initiated in 1998 with the main scope of investigating the potential role of modifiable risk and protective factors in the development of dementia.

Out of the study participants, a total of 61 cases were identified with dementia.

Coffee drinkers at midlife were found to have a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life compared with those drinking no or only little coffee.

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The results were adjusted for demographic, lifestyle and vascular factors, apolipoprotein E ε4 allele (strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s) and depressive symptoms.

The lowest risk (65 percent decreased) was found in people who drank three to five cups per day.

Tea drinking was relatively uncommon and was not associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“Coffee drinking at midlife is associated with a decreased risk of dementia/Alzheimer’s later in life,” the researchers concluded.

“This finding might open possibilities for prevention of dementia/Alzheimer’s.”

Other ways to reduce your risk

There’s good evidence that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing dementia when you’re older.

According to the NHS, research has concluded that by modifying the risk factors we are able to change, our risk of dementia could be reduced by around a third.

“Experts agree that what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain,” reports the health body.

For example, a diet that’s high in saturated fat, salt and sugar, and low in fibre, can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, becoming overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes.

Combined, these heart disease precursors may spur on the development of dementia, experts warn.

What’s more, being overweight or obese can increase your blood pressure and the risk of type 2 diabetes, both of which are linked to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, warns the NHS.

“If you are overweight or obese, even losing five percent to 10 percent of the excess weight can help reduce your risk of dementia.”

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