– Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC
There is no denying that America is a coffee-loving society. Starbucks is located at pretty much every other corner in major metropolitan areas, and each seems to perpetually have a 5-10 person line. However, there has been some backlash against this nationwide caffeine craze. Nutritionists remind us that being addicted to coffee is still considered an addiction, and that its psychological effects can be as significant as other drugs’. For example, I just Googled “Negative side effects to caffeine,” and found this: “Caffeine produces anger, fear, anxiety, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and dozens of other changes” from a nutritional website. However, I recently read an interesting article in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, that may brighten many coffee-lovers days, especially those who are women and hope to live a long and healthy lifestyle.
A study conducted at the University of Kupio in Finland found that women age 65 and older who drank more than three cups of coffee or tea per day had less decline over time on memory tests compared to women who drank one cup or less per day. The study also found that caffeine appears to protect seniors from some types of fatal heart disease.
These findings imply that the onset of Alzheimer’s could start years before physical and mental symptoms manifest. While there is no definitive link between the actual disease and consuming coffee on a daily basis, this study could be a significant leap in Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related disease research and senior care in general.
So, I say, go out there and drink your coffee! Always do so in moderation, but don’t feel too guilty about pouring another cup or two during your day.
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