Coffee and Tea: Reducing Risks of Stroke and Dementia


Experts suggest that drinking a moderate amount of coffee and tea has several health benefits. They are both rich in antioxidants that can help your body fight free radicals; they can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and other serious diseases. 

A study published in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine added another health benefit to the list of advantages of consuming coffee and tea by investigating the link between coffee and tea separately and combined with the risk of developing stroke and dementia. The researchers from Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China studied 365,682 participants aged 50 to 74 from the UK Biobank, who joined the study from 2006 and 2010 and followed until 2020. At the beginning of the study, the participants self-reported their coffee and tea intake, and over the study period, the researchers found that 5,079 participants developed dementia and 10,053 experienced at least one stroke. 

To learn how coffee and tea can help reduce the risks of stroke and dementia and how much you should be drinking, we will give you a comprehensive summary of some of the study’s crucial findings.

Stroke & Dementia

Stroke and dementia are a growing global health concern with significant negative social and economic impacts everywhere. On a global scale, over 50 million individuals had dementia in 2019; this number is anticipated to increase to 152 million by 2050. Finding the preventive risk factors of dementia is of utmost importance due to the limited therapeutic effectiveness of medications currently utilized to treat dementia. 

On the other hand, stroke accounts for 10 percent of all deaths globally. There are hazards associated with stroke and dementia, as well as some similar, largely changeable risk and protective factors. 

According to a study, more than a third of dementia cases might be avoided by preventing stroke because stroke doubles the risk of dementia, and stroke is more common than dementia. 

Coffee and Tea for Stroke and Dementia

There has been a considerable amount of existing studies and debates over the association between coffee and tea consumption and stroke and dementia. However, there is a lack of understanding about the link between tea and coffee and the risk of stroke and dementia and poststroke dementia.

Hence, the PLOS Medicine study aimed to address this gap by taking a closer look at the said association. After examining 365,682 participants (50 to 74 years old) from the UK Biobank who reported their coffee and tea consumption, the study was able to derive the following findings:

  • The consumption of 2 to 3 cups of coffee or 3 to 5 cups of tea or a combination intake of 4 to 6 cups is linked with the lowest hazard ratio (HR) of incident stroke and dementia.
  • An intake of 2 to 3 cups of coffee with 2 to 3 cups of tea every day is linked with a 32 percent lower risk of stroke and a 28 percent lower risk of dementia.
  • Coffee intake alone or combined with tea leads to a lower risk of post-stroke dementia.

The study’s findings highlighted the potentially beneficial relationship between coffee and tea consumption and the risk of stroke, dementia, and post-stroke dementia, although causality cannot be inferred from the associations. These findings may also be helpful to clinicians involved in the prevention and treatment of stroke, dementia, and post-stroke dementia, in developing new interventions based on the benefits of coffee and tea.

However, the researchers stated that the UK Biobank sample is relatively healthy compared to the overall population, which may limit the capacity to apply these connections generally. Additionally, a small number of the participants experienced stroke or dementia, making it challenging to infer rates properly for wider populations. 

More so, the risk of dementia may differ based on the interaction of several factors in a person, including age, genetics, and lifestyle. Hence, understanding which aspects or parts of your lifestyle largely affect your brain and overall health is crucial to help you make wise decisions for your health and lifestyle.

Journal Reference

Zhang, Y., Yang, H., Li, S., Li, W.-dong, & Wang, Y. (2021). Consumption of coffee and tea and risk of developing stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia: A cohort study in the UK Biobank. PLOS Medicine, 18(11). 

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