March 21, 2012

Fearful of Alzheimer’s? Drink this...

In my November 4, 2011 Health Alert, I told you a very simple and tasty way to help prevent cancer. All you have to do is drink coffee. Now, it turns out, another study says coffee can also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

What’s exciting about this study, like the others on cancer, is that three to five cups of coffee a day can work wonders on your memory. Obviously, this is great news for coffee lovers.

University of South Florida researchers found several reasons why four to five cups of joe, consumed in middle age, might reduce your risk. They found that caffeine improved cognition in mice bred to develop the disease. Caffeine stimulated higher levels of a protein called GCSF. It’s known to bolster the immune system and has shown promise in animals in repairing damage from stroke.

They found that caffeine-induced GCSF actually recruits stem cells from bone marrow. These cells would move into the blood, then the brain. Once they reach the brain, they take out the toxic beta amyloid protein.

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But that’s not all. Coffee also fosters brain connections and may stimulate creation of new brain cells. Decaffeinated coffee didn’t share the improvement. Also, the decaffeination process seems to strip out another mysterious chemical these researchers found that assists these processes. The researchers are trying now to identify this chemical.

More research is finding some wonderful phytochemicals in coffee. There were defects in this study, and, rodent models of Alzheimer’s don’t always pan out in humans. Also, coffee generated higher levels of a chemical called interleukin-6. It can cause inflammation.

The best advice I have here is to keep coffee consumption moderate. The research considers that four to five cups daily. At this point, I suggest no more than three cups. Also, based on everything I’ve read, I think that green tea will do the same, and is my personal preferred drink. You can even take it in capsule form as well.

Please be sure to buy only organic coffee and fair trade, if possible. Conventional coffee growers spray their crops heavily with pesticides and herbicides. Organic non-fair trade coffee may not hurt your health, but it could be far more beneficial to the multinational corporations involved than the hard working farmers growing it.

And try to drink it black. Loading your coffee with natural or artificial cream and/or sugar or artificial sweeteners makes a healthy drink not so healthy. If you must use cream and sugar, try using organic almond milk and raw honey.

Ref: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, July 2011.

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