These compounds act on the brain to reduce inflammation and neuronal deaths and preserve levels of acetylcholine, an organic molecule that functions in the brain and body as a neurotransmitter, a chemical released by nerve cells to send signals to other cells.
Ferulic acid is another polyphenol found in coffee and this has been shown to protect mental skills.
It adds the caffeine in coffee reduces two hallmarks of Alzheimer’s – reducing the accumulation of rogue proteins called beta amyloid and tau which clump together in the brain, destroying memory.
Caffeine also reduces the extent of neuronal deaths, especially in the areas of the brain involved in memory.
As a neuro stimulant, caffeine promotes higher levels of acetylcholine.
And the latest research suggests another compound in coffee, quercetin, may help protect key cells in the brain, although further work is needed to confirm this finding.
Dr Holmerova, of Alzheimer Europe, added: “The role of nutrition is an emerging area in Alzheimer’s research and the potential benefits of drinking coffee, on both a nutritional and a social level, are increasingly being developed.