More good news for people who can't function in the morning without a cup of coffee.
Researchers from the University of South Florida and University of Miami have found that higher caffeine consumption -- a big source being coffee -- is linked with a delayed onset of Alzheimer's disease, even in older adults who already have mild cognitive impairment (thought to be an early sign of Alzheimer's and/or dementia).
"These intriguing results suggest that older adults with mild memory impairment who drink moderate levels of coffee -- about 3 cups a day -- will not convert to Alzheimer's disease -- or at least will experience a substantial delay before converting to Alzheimer's," study researcher Dr. Chuanhai Cao, a neuroscientist at USF, said in a statement.
Researchers conducted the study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, on 124 people ages 65 to 88; some of the study participants had mild cognitive impairment.
They found that the study participants who went on to develop dementia over the next two to four years had 51 percent lower blood caffeine levels than people whose MCI did not progress over that period of time. The researchers said that high blood caffeine levels were a sign that a person regularly consumed caffeine.
Researchers cautioned that the study doesn't mean drinking coffee is guaranteed to save someone from Alzheimer's, but rather coffee may help to lower the risk of Alzheimer's.
And of course, there is such thing as too much of a good thing -- and it's important to drink coffee in moderation. Excessive coffee consumption is associated with cardiovascular problems, including an increased heart rate or blood pressure and irregular heartbeats, Harvard Health Publications reports. And all that caffeine can become addictive. Experts tend to agree that the good largely outweighs the bad for most people, but remember to consume in moderation (and skip calorie-heavy add-ins like sugar and cream).
For more health benefits of coffee, click through the slideshow: