A little coffee in the morning, a little booze at night-– two new studies show how your choice of beverage can help lower your risk for cognitive decline and even Alzheimer's disease.
Let's follow the clock and start in the morning, where that daily cuppa jo might be more than just a tool to help you wake up: A series of studies published in a special supplement to the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease finds that a little caffeine can slow or even stop brain degeneration.
Researchers say caffeine can slow the production of amyloid-beta, an amino acid found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients. Caffeine can also help normalize memory in people facing dementia and other cognitive problems, according to the new research.
What's more, the studies found that caffeine appears to protect against all kinds of cognitive decline--from the typical brain hiccups that anyone can get, to more serious conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Caffeine is packed with other great benefits, and coffee in particular has been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, Parkinson's disease, colon and prostate cancers, cirrhosis and even gallstones.
Not bad for something you'll find at the donut shop--just avoid the donuts, and never get your caffeine fix from sugary soft drinks.
Moving to the evening, another new study finds that alcohol –-known as such an effective preservative in the lab--can also help preserve the brain.
I'm oversimplifying, of course--no one's literally going to pack his or her own grey matter in Grey Goose. But a drink or two at night--remember, keep it moderate--really can help protect against dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to the study.
Spanish researchers examined data on 422 elderly people, 176 of whom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. All of them answered questions about their lifetime drinking and smoking habits--with relatives answering the questions on behalf of the Alzheimer's patients.
Nonsmoking women who enjoyed a drink or two a day had a 52 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's disease than those who neither drank nor smoke. Men had a 20 percent lower risk of the life-robbing condition, according to the study published in the regular edition of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.
That's also consistent with previous studies on booze and cognitive health. And, of course, moderate drinking has plenty of other benefits as well, from a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes to longer lives.
If you're healthy enough to enjoy these habits--and, let's face it at this point, if you can afford them--there's no reason not to enjoy your share of moderate booze and caffeine.