Do you drink coffee because you are a smart (and also very attractive and funny and an all-around catch) or are you smart because you drink coffee? It’s a real chicken-and-the-egg situation we’ve got going on here, and new research has only further complicated the issue. According to Inc, studies into the cognitive effects of coffee show that consuming your favorite beverage—as well as tea and chocolate—does in fact make you smarter.

And it’s not just one study. Multiple explorations into the neuroscience of caffeine have found a variety of ways that coffee and caffeine brain health and resilience. One study, a joint effort between the National Institute of Aging and Johns Hopkins University, corroborates something we’ve reported previously here on Sprudge: caffeine shows signs of protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This is due to methylxanthines—a “class of chemical compound found in coffee”—that promotes “sustained cognitive performance and can protect neurons against dysfunction and death.” The study also found that xanthine metabolites, the chemicals produced when your brain processes caffeine, “may contribute to [coffee’s] beneficial effects.”

Adding to these findings, a meta-analysis of 11 previous studies published in the World Journal of Surgical Oncology found that coffee and tea reduce not only the risk of Alzheimer’s but of brain cancer as well.

Lastly, a study performed at Okayama University finds that coffee compounds Caffeic acid (CA) and chlorogenic acid (CGA) have antioxidative properties, specifically on the glial gland and “prevents rotenone-induced neurodegeneration in both the brain and myenteric plexus.” Inc breaks it down into layperson terms: “caffeine makes your brain more flexible and resilient.” But if you don’t believe them, just look at this happy little mouse from the actual Okayama University study.

So if you want to be S-M-R-T like me, make sure you are drinking lots of C-O-F-E.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

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