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Does Coffee Kill Brain Cells?

author image Fossette Allane
Fossette Allane has been writing about health, food and style since 1997. Her work has been published in newspapers and journals including "The Boston Phoenix" and "FENCE" and on various blogs. She is a licensed clinical social worker with a master's degree from Hunter College and a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Oberlin College. Allane teaches health and wellness to undergraduates.
Does Coffee Kill Brain Cells?
Coffee has health benefits.

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 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.

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Coffee Risks

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 Benefits

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 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.

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