Coffee lovers — and their doctors — have long debated whether a jolt of espresso or a cup of coffee can provide health benefits. New research published Wednesday found that drinking a shot of espresso could lower a person’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers at the University of Verona in Italy analyzed compounds in espresso, which are made from coffee beans, and how they affected a protein called Tau, which plays a role in the development of Alzheimer’s. The protein can clump together, leading to symptoms of the disease such as memory loss.
As the concentration of the espresso extract grew, the team found the proteins didn’t form large tangles. Researchers said this showed signs that Alzheimer’s Disease could be slowed down or stopped due to espresso consumption.
"We have presented a large body of evidence that espresso coffee, a widely consumed beverage, is a source of natural compounds showing beneficial properties in ameliorating tau-related pathologies," the authors wrote in their study. "Our findings could pave the way for further investigation into the design of bioactive compounds in the prevention and treatment of tauopathies."
An espresso coffee is seen at Eternity Coffee Roasters during National Coffee Day on September 29, 2014 in Miami, Florida. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Espresso coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world. In some studies, coffee consumption has been associated with health risks. However, other studies have shown that when coffee is consumed in moderation, the drink could have beneficial effects on human health.
Coffee and health
Research published in March found that drinking caffeinated coffee did not significantly affect one kind of heart hiccup that can feel like a skipped beat.
However, it did signal a slight increase in another type of irregular heartbeat in people who drank more than one cup per day. The study also found that people tend to walk more and sleep less on the days they drink coffee.
Coffee has even been associated with a lower risk of dying, based on large studies that observed participants’ behavior.
Despite research that has shown moderate coffee consumption can have health benefits and doesn’t raise the risk of heart rhythm problems, some professional medical societies still caution against consuming too much caffeine.
Experts say excessive amounts of coffee can cause heart palpitations, anxiousness and jitters in individuals.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. FOX News Digital contributed.