Your morning cup of coffee could be doing more than giving you a morning energy boost - it could help ward off Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, a new study has found.
The findings, published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience medical journal, have revealed why caffeine consumption correlates to a decreased likelihood of developing the disorders, Business Standard reports.
Krembil Brain Institute co-director and researcher Dr Donald Weaver said, "Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, but we wanted to investigate why that is - which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline".
Three different types of coffee - light, dark and decaffeinated dark roasts - were investigated as part of the study, which found that both caffeinated and decaffeinated dark roasts' "protective effect" had the same potency, meaning it could not be due to caffeine, researcher Dr Ross Mancini said.
Dr Mancini said they later identified a group of compounds, known as phenylindanes, which come out through the roasting process, that prevents or inhibits the two protein fragments found in both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease from forming.
Darker roasts lead to a higher quantity of the compound, making it more beneficial to our health than a lighter roast.
"It's the first time anybody's investigated how phenylindanes interact with the proteins that are responsible for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's," he said.
"The next step would be to investigate how beneficial these compounds are, and whether they have the ability to enter the bloodstream, or cross the blood-brain barrier."