This article, written by me, first appeared in Multiple Sclerosis News Today.
Ready to fight MS? Well, you can start first thing every day. So, how do you start your day — a coffee maybe, or a great cup of tea? Tea is my choice but I also enjoy a magnificent cup of Spanish coffee.
According to a number of recent studies, coffee and tea could keep your brain healthy and provide protection from multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.
Drinking four to six cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of MS, as is drinking a high amount of coffee over five to 10 years. According to researchers, “Caffeine has neuroprotective properties and seems to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.”1
This is good news, at least for everyone who drinks that many cups of coffee each day. Of course, there are side effects associated with drinking coffee, like insomnia, irritability, muscle tremors, and more. However, if consumed responsibly, coffee as well as tea seem to have several health benefits.
Fight MS, and smell the aroma
News from Japan says that the simple aroma of particular coffee beans increases the alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with relaxation and meditation. The study also found that coffee can improve productivity and focus. You can read more about that here.
And you can slightly lower risk of depression by drinking coffee according to another study from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.
Scientific American reports that some studies suggest that coffee and tea drinkers have lower rates of cognitive decline, too, but the evidence is mixed. It cites a study that was published last June in Neurobiology of Aging, where the researchers supplemented the diets of rats with a component of coffee. They found that the animals’ brains were shielded against the changes that take place which are typical of Alzheimer’s sufferers. They also talk about a 2013 study in which the same compound was found to have protective effects against Parkinson’s disease in mouse models.
Does this mean that, as a tea and coffee drinker, I am looking after my health? I’d probably not be so bold to claim that based on the evidence so far, but can see that this deserves further investigation so that researchers can tell us more about a drink that has always been used to keep us awake or to gain a swift energy boost.