New data from the Harvard University TH Chan School of Public Health suggests that at least 54 percent of all adults in the United States drink coffee. That number, though, is only important when joined with data from a 2016 health study out of the University of Ulster in Coleraine, in the United Kingdom. That study concluded that the health benefits of moderate coffee consumption definitely provides benefits that significantly outweigh any potential risks.
And one of the most incredible benefits to drinking coffee is the protection it can offer to the brain against cognitive decline and impairment, and the boost it provides to thinking skills. After all, coffee remains the most popular and widely-consumed beverage in the world, with more than 500 billion cups of coffee consumed around the world every single year.
More importantly, coffee consumption appears to have some correlation between a decreased risk for developing neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
But can we identify precisely how coffee can provide these benefits?
Well, the most recent data suggest that the type of roast may actually have something to do with it. For the study, the team looked at the potential outcome of three types of coffee: caffeinated light roast, caffeinated dark roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.
According to the research, both types of dark roast provided the very same potencies. This means, for one, the protective effects of coffee do not appear to be linked to caffeine. Over the course of further experimentation, they found a set of compounds known as phenylindanes. These compounds form during the roasting process of the coffee bean and are actually what contributes the bitterness of coffee as a beverage.
Indeed, then, it turns out that phenylindanes—and not the actual coffee compounds—that appear to inhibit the eventual amalgamation of tau and beta-amyloid proteins associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers also contribute that longer roasting times result in the presence of phenylindanes. Thus, they theorize that dark-roasted coffee—regular or decaffeinated—provides the most brain-protecting effects.
Obviously, this is the first time researchers have been able to identify this particularly helpful compound, so more research is needed to investigate any other potential benefits that phenylindanes could have on the human body.