Is Coffee Good for Forgetfulness or Dementia? (Encouraging Reports)

Certified Senior Advisor®
Updated:
Coffee Good For Dementia

There have been multiple reports showing that coffee can help with memory. Combining coffee and tea specifically has been shown to help with forgetfulness.

Coffee Good For Dementia
Share on:

Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Forgetfulness is something almost all of us have struggled with at one time or another.

Most people struggle more with memory issues like forgetfulness as they age. In extreme cases, diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s can have a heartbreaking effect.

So what can be done? Are frequent trips to a senior’s coffee maker a good thing or bad thing?

Can Coffee Help with Memory in Older Adults?

Some studies suggest that caffeine may help improve memory and cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The combination of coffee and tea together, in particular, has shown some promising results not just for helping with forgetfulness but for possibly helping to curb the risk of developing dementia down the line.

However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and build off of any confirmed discoveries.

Multiple reports have shown that coffee can help with memory. An early 2005 study showed that coffee consumption was associated with better cognitive function in people who drank coffee and caffeine consistently compared to those who did not.

In addition, another study found that coffee may help protect the brain from age-related decline. The study showed that people who drank more than three cups of coffee per day were less likely to develop memory problems or dementia.

That is encouraging and offers a common practice that younger and middle-aged individuals can do in order to try and prevent memory disease issues in the future.

So, if you’re struggling with forgetfulness, it may be worth trying to drink more coffee. Just remember to consult with your doctor first, as too much caffeine can have negative side effects, especially in individuals with high blood pressure or heart issues.

coffee good for dementia memory
Caffeine may help improve cognitive function.

Why Does Coffee Help Memory?

The exact mechanism by which coffee helps memory is not fully understood. However, it is thought that caffeine may help improve cognitive function by increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.

Caffeine has been shown in a large number of positive mental benefits, including stimulating the brain and thought process.

A key 2012 study in Florida followed people with mild memory issues above and beyond normal aging and found that those who did not develop dementia tended to have at least double the caffeine in their blood compared to individuals who did.

However, there is at least one study that suggests that coffee has a strong positive effect on improving cognition and how well your brain works in old age but not caffeine, which, if confirmed in future studies, is a very interesting finding that once again reopens this medical mystery.

Can Coffee Help with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease?

There is currently no cure for dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, some research suggests that coffee may help slow the progression of these diseases offering an early life preventive hope for individuals who have a history of these afflictions in their family.

That study showed that people who drank more than three cups of coffee per day were less likely to develop dementia and also suggested that coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of death in people with Alzheimer’s.

That normal coffee habit increasingly appears to have major health benefits for the brain in addition to being a must for many individuals getting through a normal busy work day.

How Can These Findings Be Used to Improve Memory?

While there isn’t a consistent percentage of people helped vs. not in these studies, they do seem to indicate that having coffee as a regular part of the diet can make a huge difference when it comes to positively improving memory no matter what your age, and especially in older age.

Look at the following tips:

  • Try to drink more than three cups of coffee per day.
  • Spread out at least one of those cups past the early morning.
  • If you have heart issues, consult a doctor first.
  • Don’t drink coffee late at night if you have sleep issues, as sleep is also important for good mental health.

Remember:

  • Consult with your doctor first, as too much coffee and caffeine can have negative side effects.
  • Coffee may help improve cognitive function by increasing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • In addition, coffee contains antioxidants that can help protect the brain from damage.

Keep in mind that brain health (whether good or bad) is often caused by multiple factors.

The fact that coffee can fire up the brain or offer protection in more than one way is likely a contributor to why many studies seem to show coffee having positive results.

coffee good for dementia elephant in the room
A number of studies prove the positive effects of coffee.

The Elephant in the Room

Someone who is tired or fatigued is naturally not going to think as well.

Is coffee then actually helping with measurable cognitive functions, or is the removal of fatigue that coffee causes just allowing individuals to reach their normal levels more quickly?

While this might be the case for some of the findings, the long-term effects that many of these studies show aren’t the type that is so easily explained away.

That said, there have been studies that showed no improvements beyond the margin of error.

However, the sheer number of studies that show positive effects indicates there is likely something there as studies with positive effects keep coming back over the past two decades.

Coffee Is Not a Cure for Dementia

While there have been plenty of studies showing the positive potential benefits that a regular coffee habit can grant you, it’s also important to note that coffee is not a cure.

It shows some major potential for helping to protect mental functions, but that isn’t outright prevention or a cure for those with dementia.

In Conclusion

There’s little question that studies are going to continue on the potential positive effects that coffee can have for solving forgetfulness or dementia.

There’s enough evidence of mental benefits to indicate that long-term drinking of coffee, at least at a moderate level, is likely to provide some good short-term boosts for memory and may provide long-term benefits or potential protection.

Which should make that morning cup of coffee a guilt-free treat.

Photo of author

Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

Subscribe to My Weekly Newsletter

Not Finding What You Looking for?

Leave a Comment