The researchers believe that these coffee antioxidants protect against the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, because they have the potential to inhibit proteins beta-amyloid and Tau proteins that accumulate in the brain and cause damage, leading to the development of unsafe diseases.
With around 500 billion cups of coffee consumed each year around the world, it is no surprise the research on coffee continues. As a result, they have established for substances that trigger the development of neurodegenerative diseases that affect coffee is a strong roast and strong roast without the caffeine.
"Coffee consumption does seem to have some correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease", said study senior author Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Krembil Brain Institute.
For the study, reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the team chose to investigate three different types of coffee - light roast, dark roast and decaffeinated dark roast. "But we wanted to investigate why that is - which compounds are involved and how they may impact age-related cognitive decline", said Weaver.
The caffeinated and de-caffeinated dark roast both showed phenylindanes, suggesting that the effect is not due to caffeine.
They identified a cluster of compounds called phenylindanes, which stopped two proteins, common in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, from thickening.
"So phenylindanes are a dual inhibitor. Very interesting, we were not expecting that", said Weaver.
It appears that a longer roasting time causes the coffee beans to produce more phenylindanes. Scientists say that this is the first study that examined the interaction between phenylindane and proteins contributing to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
"The fact that it's a natural compound vs. synthetic is also a major advantage", he added.