Coffee is like a lifeline for me. My day just cannot begin without the aroma of coffee and a hot cuppa in my hand! How about you?
A majority of us rely on caffeine to wake up and keep us going. Caffeine, in its various forms, is used to increase wakefulness, avoid fatigue, heighten awareness and improve concentration & focus. Clinically, up to 400mg of caffeine per day is said to be safe for most healthy adults. Even among adults, heavy caffeine can cause unpleasant side effects. Caffeine may not be a good choice for seniors who are highly sensitive to their side effects or seniors on certain medications. An Italian study conducted showed that coffee consumption patterns in Italian seniors had links with mild cognitive impairments. Declines in memory and thinking due to large doses of caffeine through coffee are often a precursor to dementia. Seniors that consume more than two cups of coffee through habitual intake were observed to have a high rate of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Clinically, several studies are being conducted across the globe to see the positive effects of coffee consumption for senior citizens with varying illnesses and ailments. The Harvard School of Public Health gathered data showing links between higher coffee consumption and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. The antioxidants and vitamins found in coffee are known to be natural anti-depressants and memory and performance enhancers. In a study conducted by a German health care company, it was observed that those who drank 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) than non-coffee drinkers. Some studies from Harvard University and other public health groups have shown that the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including liver, breast, prostate, esophageal and colon actually decreases with the consumption of coffee.
While much of this research focuses on the benefits of long-term coffee-drinking, there is also a body of evidence that suggests the benefits of short-consumption on memory, immunity, energy, cholesterol levels, and freedom of motion, activity levels and positive moods.
However, coffee is very acidic and can worsen the symptoms of gastritis and make the treatment difficult. It can cause ulcers for those suffering gastritis. A major concern for senior citizens is dehydration. Caffeine is known to be a diuretic which means that it promotes the production of urine which in turn can cause dehydration. Seniors are highly sensitive to fluctuations of fluid in their body and heavy consumptions of coffee can result in light-headedness. If you are a senior who regularly drinks high amounts of caffeine, make sure that you are also taking in plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
In this modern world, opting for drinks that are decaf (decaffeinated) may be a better option. Most decaffeinated beverages look and taste the same as caffeinated drinks. When making coffee at home, brewing it for a shorter period of time can reduce the caffeine content. Lifelong or moderate consumption has proved to have both positive and negative effects. However, it is preferable that all things be done in moderation. After all, too much of a good thing can prove to have its downfall as well.
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