Posted on Dec 11, 2019 in Senior Tips
Caffeine and seniors can be a match made in heaven or fairly problematic so we’re here today to clear up how you should approach caffeine as you advance in years.
The number of Americans drinking a daily cup of coffee has reached an all-time high with 64% of individuals over 18 consuming caffeine every day.
In the same survey by the National Coffee Institute, older adults consume more coffee than other age groups but is caffeine really good for seniors?
Before we outline the many benefits suggesting caffeine and seniors might be an ideal mix, a word of warning…
According to Mayo Clinic, if you consume over 600mg of caffeine a day, this can lead to serious dehydration. This translates to somewhere between 5 and 7 cups depending on the size and caffeine content of the drink.
Dehydration is not the only risk of drinking coffee as we’ll highlight below, but sticking to 3 cups a day should mitigate almost all of the negative effects.
How about the benefits, then?
As long as you stick to the guidelines above and consume coffee in moderation, here are a half-dozen significant benefits you can reap as a senior:
As you almost certainly know, coffee is a stimulant.
Acting on the central nervous system, going overboard with this stimulant can leave you feeling ragged and restless with disturbed sleep patterns.
Take a short shot of espresso in the morning and you can benefit in two ways…
Firstly, the smell of fresh coffee has therapeutic qualities and gets your day started the right way.
Also, if you find yourself lacking energy in the mornings, a carefully regulated eye-opener can work wonders.
As with all aspects of drinking coffee as you age, moderation is the key.
Assuming you’re not drinking coffee to excess, caffeine can positively impact the way your brain works.
After coffee enters your bloodstream, caffeine heads to the brain. By helping to block a neurotransmitter called adenosine, other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine are enhanced. Resultantly, you get a small but noticeable increase in mood and energy as well as cognitive functioning and reaction times.
If you’re struggling with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, any help you can get to sharpen up your brainpower is especially welcome.
To reiterate, you only need to drink coffee in moderation to achieve these effects.
As well as helping you to fight back against Alzheimer’s, drinking coffee can also be beneficial for protecting you against Parkinson’s disease.
Drinking up to 2 cups of coffee each day can cut your risk of developing this degenerative disease by as much as 60%. If you drink coffee on a regular basis, you’ll be up to 65% less likely to fall foul of this debilitating disease.
Coffee can be helpful or harmful to your liver as you get older. This depends entirely on how you drink it.
Do you take your morning coffee with milk, creamer, sugar, or artificial additives and sweeteners? If so, this will negatively impact both your liver and kidneys.
Black coffee, on the other hand, can protect your liver against fatty liver disease and cirrhosis by as much as 80%. As with all these positive effects of coffee for seniors, you need only consume moderate amounts to benefit.
A Harvard study showed that moderate coffee drinkers are at a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
Again, this only holds true if you take your coffee black. Start throwing in a load of extras and you won’t enjoy the same positive benefits.
Another study showed that coffee also has short-term effects on insulin concentrations and blood sugar.
Coffee consumption and cancer is a topic that polarizes opinion.
While coffee was once thought to be carcinogenic, the World Health Organization removed coffee from its list of carcinogens in 2016.
Coffee is a blend of biologically-active components that might have anti-tumor effects. You could actually reduce your risk of developing colon, breast or liver cancer.
So, with those benefits outlined, it’s time to underscore the need to avoid excessive consumption.
You should only consume perhaps 3 cups of coffee each day when you’re over 65.
Not only will limiting your consumption to this level slash your risk of any ill-effects, you’ll also minimize any possibility of disturbed sleep patterns through drinking coffee too late in the day.
Beyond that, you’ll expose yourself to more chance of experiencing some negative effects from coffee if you exceed 4 cups daily.
Caffeine can raise your blood pressure so speak with your doctor about this if you’re suffering from BP issues and you’re a coffee lover.
Coffee is acidic and as such can aggravate certain stomach conditions. You’re also better off avoiding coffee completely if you have an ulcer or gastritis.
Where coffee is a diuretic, it removes fluid from your body. This means you’ll be at heightened risk of dehydration, compounded if you drink too much. Make sure you drink plenty of water to counterbalance the coffee.
Certain medications and antibiotics can interact adversely with coffee. Speak with your healthcare provider if you’re a coffee drinker taking any tablets.
To round out, if you stick within the safe band of 1 to 3 cups of coffee each day, there’s no reason not to continue enjoying it deep into your senior years.
If you’ve got any concerns about aging, contact one of our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living. If you’re worried about the issue of caffeine and seniors, one of our wellness nurses can help you monitor your caffeine intake. If you’d like a tour of one of our 5 assisted living communities in New Mexico and Massachusetts, get in touch with us today!