Coffee, tea may lower stroke, dementia risk, study finds

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Drinking coffee and tea can help reduce the risk for stroke and dementia, a new study has found. Photo by Christoph/Pixabay

Drinking coffee or tea may a lower a person’s risk for stroke and dementia, a study published Tuesday by the journal PLOS Medicine found.

Drinking coffee also was associated with a lower risk dementia, or memory loss and reduced cognitive function, after a stroke, the researchers said.

People who drank two or three cups of coffee or three to five cups of tea per day, or a combination of four to six cups of coffee and tea, had up to a 20% lower risk for stroke or dementia compared with those who consumed neither beverage, the data showed.

Those who drank two to three cups of each beverage daily — about the amount recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — had a 32% lower risk for stroke and 28% reduced risk for dementia compared with non-drinkers, according to the researchers.

The dietary guidelines are drafted by the federal Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services.

Intake of coffee alone or in combination with tea was also associated with lower risk for post-stroke, or vascular, dementia, which occurs following a stroke, of up to 40%, the researchers said.

“Our findings suggested that moderate consumption of coffee and tea separately or in combination were associated with lower risk of stroke and dementia,” researchers from Tianjin Medical University in China wrote.

“However, whether the provision of such information can improve stroke and dementia outcomes remains to be determined,” the said.

Strokes, or when poor blood flow to the brain leads to cell damage, cause 10% of deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization.

For years, studies have suggested that coffee and tea consumption can help stave off these significant health events, while drinking the beverages at midlife may lower an adult’s risk for dementia.

Still, what is new about this study is that it demonstrates risk reduction for specific quantities of both beverages, which contain caffeine and other compounds that seem to provide protective benefits for the brain.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data for 365,682 participants from the UK Biobank, a national database of health information for residents of the British Isles.

Study participants were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed until 2020, the researchers said.

At the beginning of the study, participants self-reported their coffee and tea intake, according to the researchers.

Over the study period, 5,079 participants developed dementia and 10,053 experienced at least one stroke, the data showed.

“Consuming the two beverages in combination may have a joint health benefit for preventing the risk of stroke and dementia,” the researchers wrote.

However, “further validation” of the effects on the beverages on the brain “in animal experiments is warranted to examine coffee and tea’s potential joint associations on dementia,” they said.

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