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Coffee and Tea in the Fight Against Dementia and Strokes

Coffee and tea are two of the most popular beverages in the world.

Both of these beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, starting in ancient China.

In traditional Chinese medicine, both of these beverages have been used to treat various ailments, including digestive problems and joint pain.

The truth is that coffee and tea have many health benefits beyond their medicinal qualities in ancient times. Recently, studies have been done that link Coffee and tea to lowering the risk of dementia and strokes in regular consumers.

Here we will look at both coffee and tea properties and outline the link to a lower chance of developing two of the most dangerous diseases on earth.

The History of Coffee and Tea

history of coffee and tea

Coffee and tea have a rich history in a variety of cultures.

Coffee and tea have been consumed for thousands of years by people worldwide.

The story goes that both beverages were discovered or created from boiling leaves from certain plants into hot water to extract their flavor.

Coffee was first used as medicine in ancient Yemen, where locals would chew on wild coffee berries because they believed it would help with digestive issues and joint pain. This is very similar to the traditional Chinese use of drinking tea for medicinal purposes today. The discovery of coffee most likely happened when someone left some boiled water next to a group of dried-out coffee beans one day after noticing how delicious the resulting drink smelled and tasted once mixed! Coffee quickly spread through trading with Arab countries and reached Europe in the 1600s.

Tea has a similar story that involves boiling water over leaves from different plants to create new flavors, but with an earlier start date of somewhere between 2737 BC (in China) and 1887 BC (in Japan). Tea was first used as medicine by ancient Chinese Emperors who would drink it for its medicinal properties rather than simply for pleasure.

The most exciting part about both stories is how closely they match up despite being separated by thousands of years! This speaks volumes to just how important coffee and tea have been throughout history, which continues today in modern times when these beverages are consumed daily worldwide.

Coffee and Tea in Modern Medicine

While coffee and tea consumption has been theorized to have medical benefits dating back thousands of years, it wasn’t until recently that the scientific community began to investigate these claims.

Researchers at Tianjin Medical University found one of the most exciting findings of the medical benefits of drinking coffee and tea. The study used a sample size of 365,682 participants and found that regular consumers of over 3 cups of coffee or tea, or a combination of the two, led to lower instances of stroke and dementia.

Here are some of the specifics of the conducted test as described by the U.K. BioBank.

  • Participants first joined the study from 2006 until 2012 and were followed up until 2020.
  • Researchers used the Cox proportional hazards model.
  • Adjustments were made for: sex, age, ethnicity, income, body mass index (B.M.I.), Adjustments were made for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), income, ethnicity, alcohol status, physical activity, diet pattern, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), smoking status, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, history of diabetes, history of cancer, hypertension and history of cardiovascular arterial disease (CAD)

Here are the findings from the study:

  • During a median follow-up of 11.4 years for new-onset disease, 5,079 people developed dementia, and 10,053 had a stroke.
  • The associations of coffee and tea with stroke and dementia were nonlinear (P for nonlinear <0.01), and coffee intake of 2 to 3 cups/d or tea intake of 3 to 5 cups/d or their combination intake of 4 to 6 cups/d were linked with the lowest hazard ratio (H.R.) of incident stroke and dementia.

So what does this research show?

Drinking coffee and tea in moderation can reduce the risk of stroke or dementia. The study also found that drinking coffee alone or tea led to a lower risk of post-stroke dementia.

Let’s dive in a little further to the possible reasons behind the findings.

What Causes Stroke and Dementia?

So, now that it has been addressed, coffee and tea can lead to a lower risk of stroke and dementia. Let’s take a look at what leads to these conditions.

Stroke

A stroke is defined as a “brain attack” caused by many different factors. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain is interrupted by a blocked or burst a blood vessel. When this happens, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin dying off almost immediately due to a lack of energy being produced at that moment.

A stroke can be treated depending on how severe it is. Still, there are no preventative measures for one occurring in another part of the body besides stopping smoking, reducing stress levels, exercising regularly, avoiding diabetes complications/medications that reduce circulation issues, monitoring your cholesterol levels, etc.

Here are the most common causes of stroke:

  • High blood pressure
  • Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)
  • Heart diseases such as coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathy
  • Carotid artery stenosis (a narrowing in the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your brain)
  • Diabetes with poor circulation
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • An irregularly shaped blood vessel in the brain is called an arteriovenous malformation.

Dementia

Dementia is caused by damage to or changes in the brain.

There is still some debate on what exactly leads to dementia. Still, it is widely believed that there are multiple types of dementia, including Alzheimer’sAlzheimer’s Disease, which accounts for about 60% of all cases. In comparison, Vascular dementia makes up around 20% of the cases.

Here are some of the common causes of dementia:

Here are some of the common causes of dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s disease. This is the most common cause of dementia.
  • Dementia can caused by a damaged blood vessel in the brain known as vascular dementia. This happens in individuals with long-term high blood pressure, severe hardening of the arteries, or many minor strokes. The second most common cause of dementia is a stroke.
  • Another disease that can cause dementia is Parkinson’s disease. This condition leads to a high incidence of dementia.
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies. This can often lead to short-term memory loss. 
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), also commonly leads to dementia and is a group of various diseases.
  • Traumatic head injuries

The Benefits of Coffee, Tea

So now that we understand what stroke and dementia are let’s look at what makes tea and coffee a natural protector against these two diseases.

The health benefits of coffee and tea go beyond the apparent caffeine connection.

As mentioned by Dr. Scott Kaiser, the Director of Geriatric Cognitive Health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute, caffeine and numerous other chemical components in coffee and tea have antioxidant effects. Coffee and tea are both derived from plants with various potentially beneficial chemicals, including potent antioxidants.

These “powerful antioxidants” are why coffee and tea are linked with lower instances of stroke or dementia.

Another study found that these benefits may extend to other areas beyond just health, including protection against mental decline during aging. A team of researchers from Australia discovered that regular consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages led to slower memory declines when compared with participants who drank no tea at all.

The authors concluded that this difference was most likely due to several bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols and caffeine. Coffee can be a potential nutritional therapeutic in aging.

Here is a list of potential health benefits from coffee and tea:

  • Lowers the risk of stroke or dementia.
  • Helps protect against mental decline during aging.
  • Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Increases energy levels
  • Help you lose weight by increasing fat burning, suppressing appetite, and decreasing sugar absorption into cells, leading to accumulation in the body and aerobic endurance.

How much coffee and tea should you drink?

While there is significant research showing that those who drink coffee and tea daily have a lower dementia risk along with many other health benefits, there is still a limit on the amount of tea and coffee you should be consuming.

Here are the base recommendations for how much tea and coffee consumption is considered healthy:

Experts say the study on dementia addresses the optimal amount is of moderate consumption daily.

Moderate consumption is considered to be between 3 and 5 cups daily.

Women are typically recommended to have between two and three cups of caffeinated coffee per day, while men should aim for four or five cups a day.

However, it is essential to note that drinking more than this could be harmful as well. There is no exact amount on how much tea you should drink because the caffeine content in different teas will vary significantly depending on what plant they come from.

However, experts recommend avoiding drinking too many energy drinks if looking out for your health since these beverages contain high levels of caffeine which can cause heart problems and other potential issues.

It’sIt’s also good to keep an eye out for added sugar intake with caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee since excess sugar has been linked with health problems.

Conclusion:

Tea and coffee are some of the most popular drinks worldwide, and they have been around for thousands of years. While they were initially thought to have health benefits in ancient times, it has become widely accepted in modern medicine.

Recent findings suggested that tea and coffee drinkers are less likely to develop illnesses such as stroke and dementia.

While research is still ongoing, coffee and tea drinkers should be aware of the potential health benefits as well as limits on their consumption.

The exact amount you should drink varies depending on your gender and personal preference, but consuming between three to five cups daily for regular males and two to three cups for females is the recommended amount.

F.A.Q.

How often should I drink tea?

Tea consumption is recommended daily, but it’s good to keep an eye on the consumption of caffeinated tea if you are sensitive to caffeine since this can cause side effects such as jitters and anxiety.

What types of teas offer the most antioxidants?

Green tea contains more antioxidants than black tea due to differences in processing methods during production.

Is coffee drinking recommended for everyone?

Some people should avoid drinking coffee, including those who have anxiety or sleep issues, since caffeine can worsen these conditions.

Is it better to drink black tea vs. green?

While both types offer health benefits, a study showed that green tea drinkers had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than those who drank no tea at all.

Do you need decaf if you don’t want the caffeine?

Decaffeinated teas have been shown to contain high amounts of antioxidants still, so this is not considered necessary for daily consumption. This means there’s nothing wrong with enjoying caffeinated flavors either!

Can I drink tea separately, or do I also need to drink coffee?

Both tea and coffee are good for your health so that you can drink them separately or together. You may also want to try hybrid teas which combine the flavors of both!

Is dementia or having a stroke common?

Many factors can lead to how likely you are to have a stroke or get dementia. Some of those include your age, family history, and medical conditions. If someone in your family has had at least one stroke, you may be more prone to the same.

Are energy drinks healthy?

Energy drinks are not recommended since they have high levels of caffeine which can lead to heart problems. You should also keep an eye out for added sugar in caffeinated beverages, especially energy drinks.

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