In addition to illuminating our mornings and keeping us up to date all day, coffee has proven to have many health benefits: on the one hand, its caffeine content improves alertness and memory in the short term, but studies suggest that coffee could have long-term protection effects in the brain as well.
Coffee consumption has already been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's and now scientists say they can have an idea of why. It turns out that phenylindanes-chemical compounds that are formed during the brewing process inhibit the growth of proteins associated with degenerative brain diseases. And the darker the roast, they say, the more of these protective compounds are in each glass.
For the new study, published in Borders in Neuroscience, the researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto analyzed the chemical components of three different samples of Starbucks Instant coffee route: light roast, dark roasted and decaffeinated toasted roast. Next, exposed extracts from each sample to two types of proteins-beta amyloid and tau-that are known to be the symbol of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Studies have shown that as these conditions evolve, these proteins tend to form tumors (known as amyloid plates and tau protein mixtures) in the brain.
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The three coffee extracts prevented the "agglutination" of these proteins, which suggests that something in the United States's favorite morning in the morning may be protective against the progression of the disease. And because the researchers noticed differences in the effectiveness of regular beers versus decaffeinated, they determined that it is likely no Caffeine that provides these benefits.
However, they have noticed more inhibitory effects of the two baked roasts in comparison with the slight roasting. This led researchers to think of phenylindanes-compounds formed from acid breakdown during coffee roasting, which are largely responsible for the bitter taste of coffee.
Fenilindanes are found in higher concentrations in coffees with longer roasting times, such as dark roasts and espressos. They have been shown to show "a surprisingly powerful antioxidant activity," the authors wrote in their article, but their ability to interact with amyloid and tau protein was not previously reported.
In other laboratory studies, they found that a mixture of phenylindane effectively prevented the accumulation of proteins related to the disease; In fact, it was the alone Compound studied that had an effect on amyloid and tau proteins. For tau proteins, it showed more potent levels of inhibition than any other compound investigated.
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Taking into account that both extracts of dark roasted coffee showed more potent levels of inhibition of proteins than light barbecues, the authors proposed that it was the phenylindane component of coffee that was "largely responsible" for this purpose. (And good news for decaffeinated drinkers: because the decaffeinated process occurs before the roasting process, the authors assume that it has no effect on the phenylindane levels).
This does not necessarily mean that everyone can start to drink espresso or bake the darkest coffee beans, though. The investigation is still preliminary, according to lead author Donald Weaver, MD, co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute and a lot is still known about how these compounds really work in the human body. (In addition, other research has suggested that lighter roasts have higher levels different Beneficial compounds, so it can be a health problem in general).
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Weaver said in a press release that he hopes that this research will lead to a greater study of phenylindanes, and possibly even the development of medications that can be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases. He also said that it is good to know that coffee has these properties that are naturally good for you, although there is not enough evidence to drink for only these reasons.
"What this study is doing is to take the epidemiological tests and try to refine it and show that there are actually components within the coffee that are beneficial for moving away the cognitive decline," Weaver said. "It's interesting, but we're suggesting that coffee is a cure? Absolutely not."
Experts say the best way to prove the age of the brain is to follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly and have a long time to sleep. And if it turns out that a daily glass of joe fits in that plan, we are definitely all because of that.
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