The coffee with the most brain protection

By now, the health benefits of coffee are indisputable. A cup of Joe or two per day decreases your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Uterine cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Cirrhosis
  • Gout

Coffee even goes to bat for your brain, protecting you against major neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

But if you want to use coffee for its brain-protecting benefits, there’s something you need to know…

Not all coffee provides equally effective protection against brain diseases. That’s why people looking to keep their cognitive health in shape through a daily cup, should stick to this kind…

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Dark roast coffee is best for your brain

Researchers from the Krembil Brain Institute recently took a deep dive into the brain benefits of coffee.

They wanted to find out why coffee protects people from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and which type of coffee was best for the brain. Here’s what they found…

There are compounds in coffee that put the kibosh on those dangerous proteins — beta-amyloid and tau — that accumulate in the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease.

These compounds are called phenylindanes, and they’re a byproduct of the coffee-roasting process. That means the longer coffee is roasted, the more phenylindanes it has. The take-home message?

Dark roast coffee is better for the brain than light roast coffee.

What about decaf? Does that still have brain benefits?

Absolutely. Researchers found that the caffeine content didn’t really make a difference. But once again, dark roast decaf is a better choice for your brain than light roast decaf.

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Keeping your cup of Joe healthy

Besides choosing a dark roast, there are plenty of other ways to make your coffee habit as healthy as possible, like:

  • Avoiding unhealthy add-ons. The coffee itself is healthy. But when you add sugar, artificial sweeteners, artificial creamers or drink your coffee with a pastry on the side, you counteract the health benefits.
  • Balancing it out with water. Coffee is dehydrating. So, for every cup you drink, make sure to drink a cup of water too.
  • Switching to decaf if you have acid reflux, insomnia or osteoporosis. Certain health conditions are aggravated by caffeine. If you have one, get your coffee fix from decaf.
  • Practicing moderation. Anything can be overdone… including caffeine. Shoot for a maximum of about 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. That’s roughly four cups of coffee. Drinking more than that can cause insomnia, irritability, stomach problems, increased heart rate and other problems you’d rather avoid.

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  1. Drinking coffee may reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s — MedicalXpress
  2. Phenylindanes in Brewed Coffee Inhibit Amyloid-Beta and Tau AggregationFrontiers in Neuroscience
  3. Caffeine: How much is too much? — Mayo Clinic
  4. 11 Ways to Make Your Coffee Habit HealthierReader’s Digest
  5. 6 Ways to Make Your Morning Coffee Even Healthier — Health
  6. Health Benefits of Coffee — Rush
  7. The latest scoop on the health benefits of coffee — Harvard Medical School
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and