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Coffee and tea may reduce the risk of stroke and dementia

According to a new study published in the journal PloS Medicine, drinking coffee or tea may reduce the risk of stroke and dementia. Drinking coffee was also associated with a lower risk of developing poststroke dementia.

Stroke and dementia are widespread health hazards, bringing a heavy economic and social burden worldwide. Stroke is causing over 10 percent of global annual deaths, and it sometimes triggers dementia in its survivors. 

“Previous studies have revealed the involvement of coffee and tea in the development of stroke and dementia. However, little is known about the association between the combination of coffee and tea and the risk of stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the associations of coffee and tea separately and in combination with the risk of developing stroke and dementia,” wrote the study authors.

By studying 365,682 participants from the UK Biobank (with ages ranging from 50 to 74), who were recruited between 2006 and 2010 and followed until 2020, scientists from Tianjin Medical University in China have found that drinking coffee and tea could have highly beneficial health effects. 

Participants who drank 2-3 cups of coffee or 3-5 cups of tea per day, or a combination of 4-6 cups of coffee and tea had the lowest incidence of dementia or stroke. Those who drank 2-3 cups of coffee and 2-3 cups of tea each day had a 32 percent lower risk of stroke and a 28 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who didn’t consume such beverages. Moreover, drinking coffee alone or in combination with tea appeared to significantly reduce the risk of poststroke dementia.

However, since the UK Biobank reflects a relatively healthy sample compared to the general population, there might be problems in generalizing these findings. Also, since quite few people developed stroke (10,053) or dementia (5,079) in the studied cohort, it may be difficult to extrapolate accurate rates to larger populations.

Finally, while it could be inferred that coffee and tea protect against stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia, a clear causal connection has not been found yet. Further research is needed to comprehensively assess these beverages’ effects of physical and mental health. 

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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