Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th, 2011: Hot Coffee, Cool Parties and a Decreased Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Happy Fourth of July!

What a terrific holiday this has been…and best of all, I’ve recently been exposed to another powerful paradigm shift. A new study shows that coffee can help stave off the symptoms and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Researchers at the University of South Florida, where the study was conducted, think that coffee may even have preventive effects against AD!

This study, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease on June 28, 2011, evaluated memory function and disease development in mice with induced AD. The results were very specific in that the only thing that was effective in preserving and improving memory over the long term was caffeinated coffee---not decaffeinated coffee and not other types of caffeinated drinks.

The primary mechanism was associated with increased blood levels of a growth factor known as GCSF, or granulocyte colony stimulating factor, which is associated with improved memory and a decrease in the brain’s production of beta-amyloid, which is the plaque found in the brains of people with AD. GCSF creates new connections between brain cells and increases the birth of new neurons in the brain. Coffee also has anti-inflammatory properties.

It seems that we should all be enjoying these benefits, but the researchers stress that Americans just aren’t drinking enough coffee to reap those benefits. In fact, we average about 2 cups a day. When it comes to memory, the benefits really kick in at the 4 to 5 cup mark. That’s where the paradigm shift comes in. More really is better. Researchers suggest that we start ramping up intake in our 30’s when AD can start to develop.

Everyone, including Americans, wants to be healthy. Coffee, it seems, may help us achieve that goal. I also want to be able to remember all of the cool parties we have attended on July 4th and the beautiful fireworks that lit up the night sky this past weekend. And, of course, I want to remember the look of awe in my children's eyes.

The information about AD is new, but here's what we know: We already know that coffee significantly reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, liver disease, and stroke.

Finally...one more question: Do you like your coffee hot or cold? On a hot day, I still like my coffee hot. Hot water and hot healthy drinks are an excellent way to detoxify the body and build the digestive system. So have a hot cup of coffee as you watch the fireworks! It’s another dimension of hot (and healthy) fun in the summer time!