New research highlights how coffee roasts can prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's

By Shannon Sweeney — / Death Wish Coffee Blog

Does coffee prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's? 

It's been said before that coffee helps improve memory function and attention, and a new study by the Krembil Brain Institute sought to find out why. In this first-of-its-kind study, researchers found out exactly how a coffee's roast can prevent people from developing these degenerative diseases. 

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Their conclusion is similar to other studies: Lifelong consumption of coffee does, in fact, help prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, two diseases that affect the brain and memory loss. What differs this research from others is the focus on three different coffee roasts: light roast, dark roast, and a decaffeinated dark roast.

They then identified a ground of compounds known as phenylindanes, which emerge from coffee beans during the roasting process. Phenylindanes are unique because they are the only compound investigated in this study that inhibit beta amyloid and tau from clumping. These two protein fragments are common in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's — when they start clumping in the brain, people start having symptoms of dementia and more.

With coffee, roasting leads to higher quantities of phenylindanes, so the darker the roast, the more protective coffee is in preventing these two diseases.

"It’s the first time anybody’s investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The next step would be to investigate how beneficial these compounds are, and whether they have the ability to enter the bloodstream, or cross the blood-brain barrier," Dr. Donald Weaver, the study's lead author, said.

Related: Here's what coffee does to your brain


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