TIANJIN, China — Good news for both coffee and tea drinkers, an extra cup of either beverage may help fight off serious health risks as you age. A new study reveals drinking more coffee, more tea, or a combination of both appears to lower the risk of suffering a stroke or developing dementia later in life.
In a review of over 365,000 older adults, study authors discovered a link between participants drinking more coffee and tea and falling rates of both stroke and dementia cases among a group of 50 to 74-year-olds. Specifically, the study finds people drinking two to three cups of coffee and two to three cups of tea each day lowered their risk of having a stroke by 32 percent. Their risk of developing dementia dropped by 28 percent in comparison to people who don’t drink either beverage.
A team from Tianjin Medical University studied the long-term health of 365,682 participants from the UK Biobank, recruited between 2006 and 2010. Researchers followed them until 2020 and each person self-reported their daily coffee and tea-drinking habits. Over that time, 5,079 participants developed dementia and 10,053 had at least one stroke.
Drinking both coffee and tea can get the job done
Based on the data, study authors determined that people drinking two to three cups of coffee, three to five cups of tea, or a combination of four to six cups of both beverages each day had the lowest rates of both stroke and dementia in the group.
Strokes can occur at any age, but that risk doubles after the age of 55. A stroke occurs when something either blocks or reduces the blood supply to part of the brain.
Dementia is the general term for the series of conditions which result in impaired and declining brain function and memory loss. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that over six million Americans over the age of 65 are currently living with dementia — with the most common version of the condition being Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers note that in some cases, the symptoms of dementia can appear after a person suffers a stroke. Doctors call this post-stroke dementia. The study finds drinking more coffee or combining coffee drinking with tea also lowered the risk of post-stroke dementia cases.
Although the findings are promising, the team notes that the results are observational — meaning scientists still have to figure out how or if coffee and tea is the exact cause of this apparent brain boost.
The study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.