coffeeCoffee: wonder drug or guilty pleasure? Scientists have been puzzling this out for some time now. In fact, coffee has been one of the world’s most popular beverages for hundreds of years. And although health professionals used to warn us about the ills of coffee and caffeine, it seems that current research has mostly turned the tide to coffee’s positive benefits. Here are 5 ways coffee might be good for your brain.

1. Coffee may slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. A Florida study found that when older people with mild cognitive impairment were tested initially and then again two to four years later, the ones with high blood caffeine–equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee–were far less likely to have developed full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Coffee may help you live longer. A large-scale study involving over 400,000 older adults found that men who drank 2 cups of coffee a day lived 10% longer than their coffee-free cohorts. Among women, the figure was even higher; the coffee drinkers lived an average of 13% longer than their uncaffeinated peers.

3. Coffee may help prevent Parkinson’s disease – and can reduce the visible symptoms if you already have it. Studies have shown that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Parkinson’s, and for those that have the disease, coffee intake has been found to help with movement symptoms like tremors.

4. Coffee may stave off dementia. Animal experiments have found that caffeine can disrupt adenosine, a cell chemical that can start a chain reaction that leads to a disruption of neuron function, neurdegeneration, and eventual dementia.

5. Coffee is one of the best sources of neuroprotective antioxidants available. While things like blueberries and pomegranates are most often touted for their antioxidant content, it turns out our cup of morning Joe is brimming with antioxidants. Research has found that it is the number one source of antioxidants in most people’s diets, by a large margin.

I quit drinking coffee a few years ago, but all of this makes me want to start again! Do you drink coffee?