Health & Medicine

Advice from the docs: MODERATE CAFFEINE CONSUMPTION HAS BIG BENEFITS

The recent headline “Coffee Habits Impact Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment” reminded us of a TV ad for Berlitz language school in which a German Coast Guard officer who speaks broken English replies to a mayday call. A ship’s captain is pleading for help: “We’re sinking, we’re sinking! Can you help us?” The young German replies, “Um ... vut are you sinking about?”

That hilarious advertisement makes it clear that when it comes to communicating important information, you must choose your words wisely and accurately. Just what those headline writers didn’t do. They made it sound like coffee was bad for the brain when, under specific circumstances, it’s just the opposite!

The study, from the University of Bari in Italy, actually says, “Coffee, tea or caffeine consumption may be protective against cognitive impairment and dementia.” And “moderate amounts — or one to two cups per day — appear to have greater (cognitive) benefit than drinking no or very little coffee daily.” Seems the compounds in coffee have the ability to protect brain neurons from plaque (linked to dementia) and to activate and protect other neural receptors. Plus, if you’re a fast metabolizer of coffee — 88 percent of North American’s are — it also helps to protect against Parkinson’s while reducing your risk of nine cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

The study also points out that occasionally drinking a couple of cups or skipping it altogether isn’t brain-friendly, but the steady enjoyment of a couple of cups a day does the trick just right.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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