What can coffee do for your brain?
I’ve got to be honest with you. Some mornings, I just can’t get started without a cup of coffee.
No matter how much I tell myself I don’t need it, that I should just have a good healthy breakfast and maybe a brisk walk around the block, I always find myself with a steaming mug of delicious brew next to my computer.
Today, though, I read some news that is making me feel a little better about my morning ritual.
A large European study (more than 500,000 people!) has shown that coffee and tea drinkers may be less likely to develop the most common form of malignant brain tumor than those who don’t go for the brewed beverages.
Gliomas make up about 80 percent of brain cancers in adults — and this study links the consumption of coffee and tea to a lower risk of developing the group of tumors.
People who drank an average of at least 3.5 ounces of coffee or tea per day were one-third less likely to be diagnosed with glioma than people who drank less or no coffee or tea at all.
Brain tumors are generally uncommon (over a lifetime, the odds a person will develop a cancerous tumor are about one percent), and researchers are saying the results are preliminary.
They are promising, though — previous research has shown that caffeine could slow the growth of glioblastomas, a type of glioma. And we already know that coffee and tea contain antioxidants, which protect our cells from damage.
The research team is also saying that people shouldn’t change their coffee or tea drinking habits based on the news. But I’m taking it as a sign that it’s okay to start my morning with a cup of coffee — and to wind down at the end of the day with a calming mug of tea.
“Coffee, tea linked to lower risk of brain tumor,” MedlinePlus (www.nlm.nih.gov)