How alcohol, coffee and tea intake influence cognitive decline

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Scientists from Tongji Hospital and elsewhere found that light intake of coffee and alcohol are linked to lower dementia risk.

Drinking green tea could reduce dementia risk too.

Cognitive decline in older adults refers to the concern of or difficulty with a person’s thinking, memory, concentration, and other brain functions beyond what is typically expected due to aging.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more serious decline of dementia.

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.

Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change.

Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.

Lifestyle interventions are an important method for preventing cognitive deficits.

However, the findings about how alcohol, coffee, and tea intake affect cognitive decline have been divergent.

In the current study, researchers aimed to examine the dose-response link between alcohol, coffee, or tea intake and cognitive deficits.

They reviewed 29 published studies from America, Japan, China, and some European countries.

The team showed that compared to non-drinkers, low intake (<11 g/day) of alcohol could reduce the risk of cognitive deficits or only dementias, but there was no significant effect of heavier drinking (>11 g/day).

Low intake of coffee reduced the risk of any cognitive deficit (<2.8 cups/day) or dementia (<2.3 cups/day).

In addition, green tea intake was a strong protective factor for cognitive health, with one cup of tea per day bringing a 6% reduction in the risk of cognitive deficits.

Based on the findings, the team suggests that light consumption of alcohol (<11 g/day) and coffee (<2.8 cups/day) was linked to a reduced risk of cognitive deficits.

The cognitive benefits of green tea drinking increased with daily consumption.

The research was published in Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences and conducted by LS Ran et al.

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