One daily espresso may significantly reduce the chance of getting dementia, including Alzheimer's.
The effects of espresso on the brain were investigated by the study's authors, led by Professor Mariapina D'Onofrio.
Alzheimer's disease and other forms of neurodegeneration are associated with an accumulation of these proteins in the brain.
The ingredients in coffee seem to actively break down these tau proteins, stopping their harm to neurons and reducing the cognitive loss that results.
The results show that the popular Espresso Martini beverage includes the healthful components found in espresso and may help reduce the risk of dementia.
However, in people with neurodegenerative disorders, these proteins may clump together to create damaging 'fibrils' that disrupt neuronal function.
The study's laboratory trials showed that espresso significantly reduces the production of these fibrils.
The study also highlighted a geographical aspect to the results, noting that almost all Italians (96%) drink espresso on a regular basis.
The group used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, an advanced scanning method, to investigate the chemical make-up of espresso shots.