The resurgence of coffee as health benefit is supported by accumulating research. Coffee holds a host of physical — not to mention psychological — benefits which scientists are now beginning to appreciate. If you want to improve your memory should you look into memory training or drinking more coffee?

Scientific research suggests that roasted coffee – both caffeinated, decaffeinated and instant – contains over 1000 chemicals including more lipophilic antioxidants and chlorogenic acid lactones making it more protective against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death in primary neuronal cells than green coffee. The espresso method of extraction yields higher antioxidant activity than other brewing methods. Antioxidants help reduce certain health risks, including cognitive decline.

Many people drink coffee for its ability to increase short term recall, according to a study reported in Science Daily. Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health has reviewed many studies of coffee drinkers habits and their health status. While most studies are self reported – lacking conclusive medically valid proof – taken together, they certainly suggest more positives than negatives. For example, in cognitive tests of simple reaction time, choice reaction time, incidental verbal memory, and visuospatial reasoning, participants who regularly drank coffee were found to perform better on all tests, with a positive relationship between test scores and the amount of coffee regularly drunk. Elderly participants were found to have the largest effect associated with regular coffee drinking. Another study found that women over the age of 80 performed significantly better on cognitive tests if they had regularly drunk coffee over their lifetimes.

Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden showed that, out of 1,400 people followed for about 20 years, those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers. Caffeine significantly decreases abnormal levels of the protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Coffee may counter several risk factors for heart attack and stroke. First, there’s the potential effect on type 2 diabetes risk and heart rhythm disturbances, two risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Coffee has been linked to lower risks for strokes, especially in women, according to a study involving 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study. It showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.

Higher consumption of coffee is also associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s and a reduced incidence of depression in women.

While I find this article interesting too much coffee is just flat our bad for you. If you want a short burst of adrenaline to help focus your mind or improve your memory for the short term then go for it. But if you are looking at this article as an excuse to guzzle more joe to make you healthier….look elsewhere…