I love coffee. Love. It. My husband knows not to start any conversations in the morning until I am clutching a steaming mug (I haven't quite convinced the kids of this necessity yet) and I adore my grind-and-brew coffeemaker so much I think it's the one thing I'd save from a fire once everyone was out safe. Even my eye cream has caffeine in it.
There's some evidence now that consuming large amounts of caffeine can even protect the brain from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease. But even I would have a hard time getting in the amount that appears to have a protective effect.
It appears that consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine a day -- the amount in five cups of coffee -- is the threshold for seeing any benefit. I don't know about you, but as much as I love the stuff five cups would have me absolutely vibrating with anxiety and jumpiness. I might not have Alzheimer's, but I wouldn't have many friends, either.
Researcher Gary Arendash from the Florida Alzheimer's Disease Research Center says his mice who have Alzheimer's do 40 to 50 percent better on memory tasks if they get enough caffeine. He's so convinced of the benefits that he now has five to six cups of coffee daily.
Another study out of Finland followed coffee drinkers for more than 20 years. It found those who'd consumed the most coffee in their 40s and 50s were 65 to 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's.
Coffee is also supposed to help ward off diabetes, although it doesn't blunt the effects of a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
In any case, it's nice to have another reason to enjoy that second (or third) cup.
Image via DeusXFlorida/Flickr