There is no evidence that coffee kills brain cells. In fact, the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of coffee probably outweigh the risks for most people, says MayoClinic.com. Other problems, including alcoholism, Alzheimer's disease and chemotherapy might kill brain cells. If you are concerned about whether you are losing brain cells -- or worried that you are drinking too much coffee -- consult your doctor.
Drinking excessive amounts of coffee can make you restless, jittery, anxious and unable to sleep. Unfiltered coffee might slightly raise cholesterol. Drinking two or more cups each day might increase the risk for heart disease in people with a fairly common genetic mutation. Children and people sensitive to coffee's effects should avoid consuming it. Coffee with cream contains saturated fat; too much saturated fat in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Putting sugar in your coffee adds what the U.S. Department of Agriculture calls empty calories, energy without nutritional value. Your brain cells, however, are not threatened by coffee consumption.
About Brain Cells
According to a PBS report about Gary Small's book, "The Memory Bible," exercising your brain can create new brain cells. Brain cells are connected by extensions called dendrites. When you don't use your dendrites, they can die. But when you exercise dendrites by using your brain creatively, they remain active. You can also create new dendrites when old ones die. Doing a puzzle or challenging task can help you grow new brain cells. Challenging yourself with new and difficult tasks can help stimulate the creation of new dendrites.
Coffee is a good source of antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, molecules that damage cells and might lead to cancer. Coffee can help prevent Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer, according to MayoClinic.com. It can also elevate your mood and increase your focus. Besides its health benefits, coffee is a flavorful beverage with a rich international culture, including various growing techniques, roasting styles, brewing methods and flavor profiles, making coffee connoisseurship a potentially brain-stimulating hobby.
What Kills Brain Cells
Chronic alcohol abuse kills brain cells. Alcoholism can lead to the brain diseases Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome. Alzheimer's disease also kills brain cells. Health News Review reports on a story in the "Los Angeles Times" that states that some types of chemotherapy might kill brain cells. But there is no evidence that coffee is one of the culprits.
- "Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition"; Coffee and Health: A Recent Review of Human Research; J.V. Higdon, B. Frei; 2006
- MayoClinic.com; Coffee and Health: What Does the Research Say?; Donald Hensrud, M.D.; May 2010
- HealthNewsReview.org; Chemo Damages Brain, Study Finds; December 2006
- American Chemical Society; Protease Inhibitor Could Help Prevent Alzheimer's; Beverly Hassell; April 2000
- Research Australia; Mapping Alcohol Brain Damage; Peter Dodd; November 2005
- PBS; Get Fit With Mental Aerobics; Gary Small; May 2004