For some of us, the day really can't get going until we've had our morning cup of coffee. And while recent studies have found that the beloved caffeinated beverage may not make us as jittery as we once thought, there's certainly such a thing as overdoing it. In fact, according to a new study, drinking too much coffee each day can actually raise your risk of dementia. Read on to see how many cups you should be limiting yourself to.
Drinking more than six cups of coffee a day increases your risk of dementia.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, was conducted by a team of researchers at the Australian Centre for Precision Health looking to see if coffee consumption could be associated with brain health, including the risk of stroke or dementia. To test their theory, the team gathered a group of 17,702 participants between the ages of 30 and 37 from the U.K. Biobank. Researchers then compared brain imaging on file with the amount of coffee consumed each day by participants. Results found that those who drank more than six cups of coffee a day were 53 percent more likely to develop dementia.
Researchers found an association between coffee overconsumption and brain volume.
Researchers found that those who can't put down the coffee pot saw a major physiological effect from overindulging. "Accounting for all possible permutations, we consistently found that higher coffee consumption was significantly associated with reduced brain volume," Kitty Pham, the team's lead researcher and a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia, said in a statement. "Essentially, drinking more than six cups of coffee a day may be putting you at risk of brain diseases such as dementia and stroke."
"Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Yet with global consumption being more than nine billion kilograms a year, it's critical that we understand any potential health implications," Pham pointed out. "This is the most extensive investigation into the connections between coffee, brain volume measurements, the risks of dementia, and the risks of stroke—it's also the largest study to consider volumetric brain imaging data and a wide range of confounding factors."
The team concluded that "moderation is the key" when it comes to coffee consumption.
The study's authors concluded that limiting your coffee intake could be a seriously beneficial habit. "This research provides vital insights about heavy coffee consumption and brain health, but as with many things in life, moderation is the key," Elina Hyppönen, the study's senior investigator and director of the Australian Centre for Precision Health, said in a statement.
"Typical daily coffee consumption is somewhere between one and two standard cups of coffee. Of course, while unit measures can vary, a couple of cups of coffee a day is generally fine," she added. "However, if you're finding that your coffee consumption is heading up toward more than six cups a day, it's about time you rethink your next drink."
Researchers also say you should be drinking water alongside your brew.
Besides keeping an eye on how much java you're drinking, the study's authors also suggested another coffee break ritual that's beneficial for your health. "Together with other genetic evidence and a randomized controlled trial, these data strongly suggest that high coffee consumption can adversely affect brain health," Hyppönen said. "[But] while the exact mechanisms are not known, one simple thing we can do is to keep hydrated and remember to drink a bit of water alongside that cup of coffee."