The effects of Coffee in the ageing process
People often get confused in respect of the meaning of the Julian and Gregorian calendar abbreviations AD and BC. Some mistakenly believe that AD means anno Domini… and BC stands for before Christ. In a similar vein, there is a widely held misconception that the abbreviations CE and BCE stand for Common Era and Before Common Era. These myths were perpetrated by the Monk Dionysius Exiguus of Scythia Minor, in 525.
The Myth exposed
Thankfully modern day scholars, and those of us who have reached retirement age, are well aware that the terms were actually compiled by a convocation know as ‘SIRY’ (Seniors in Retirement Years), who being concerned at a growing prevalence of cognitive impairment attributable to low caffeine intake: as well as an increasing number of vehicular accidents resulting from intoxication, adopted the following guidelines:
AD (After drinks) – suggested that after enjoying an alcoholic tipple, people over the age of 90 must enjoy an afternoon nap, prior to driving their vehicles.
BC (Before Coffee) – reminded them that nothing mentally taxing should be undertaken prior to enjoying at least two cups of the beverage.
CE (Coffee Espresso) – identified the fact that a very strong dose of Espresso Coffee was mandatory prior to arguing with wives; or attempting to avoid washing the dishes after dinner.
BCE (Before Coffee Espresso) – stipulated that no physically taxing tasks should be considered, before at least three cups of coffee Espresso had been consumed.
So now that the abbreviation myths have been put to bed – what effect does coffee really have on the health of seniors?
Benefits of coffee for seniors
Coffee is said to:
- Provide an energy boost.
- Have a positive effect on the workings of the brain… for example it can help block adenosine, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, thereby increasing other beneficial neurotransmitters such as dopamine – This results in a notable boost in cognitive functioning.
- Lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 50% (even for people only consuming one or two cups per day). However, this claim is only valid if the coffee does not include large amounts of sugar and cream.
- Offer a degree of protection against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (… reducing the risk of developing them by up to 60%).
- Lower the rate of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)… however disappointingly, this beneficial association was not prevalent once consumption exceeded two cups per day
- Provide a degree of protection against fatty liver disease and Cirrhosis. (With the consumption of plain black coffee, reducing the risk of the latter by up to 80%).
Harmful effects of drinking too much coffee
Consuming too much caffeine in a short period:
- Can leave you restless and overcharged
- Can disrupt sleep patterns.
- If consumed with milk, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other additives, can have a detrimental effect on the health of seniors (especially in respect of having an adverse effect on the liver and kidneys).
- Can raise blood pressure.
- Health benefits have been noted amongst people who drink up to 4 cups per day, however consuming that much may pose a negative effect on seniors – it, for example, could cause nervousness, restlessness, jittery behaviour and even muscle tremors. And when drunk late in the evening could result in insomnia?
Additionally one can become addicted, with withdrawal symptoms lasting 12 to 24-hours after one’s last cup; and often is accompanied by anxiety, fatigue, depression and drowsiness.
So what are safe coffee consumption habits? How much is too much?
Coffee is best served in the morning i.e. prior to 12 noon.
Consumption should be limited to three cups of black coffee per day.
No sugar, milk or cream should be added to the coffee.
In this way, you may remain healthy for longer … albeit that the balance of your longer life may prove to be somewhat boring and tasteless. And for those of us who are torn between our love of coffee and our search for a healthier lifestyle… we should perhaps be guided by that old adage, which supports the wisdom and practice of – moderation in all things?