Caffeine is amazing! Most of us can’t wait to feel its effects with those first few sips of joe in the morning. Without it, we’re not quite ready to face the day.
And, best of all, caffeine is good for us! It not only helps us stay alert, it can prevent disease, improve memory and even reduce pain. Here are some of its glorious benefits:
Benefits of Caffeine
1. Memory. Several studies indicate that caffeine increases memory. Benefits depended on the time of the day, age, and gender of the study participants.
2. Alertness. Caffeine increases alertness when driving while sleepy.
3. Reaction time. Caffeine improves reaction time when sleep-deprived.
4. Logical reasoning. Caffeine aids logical reasoning when sleep-deprived.
5. Pain relief. Caffeine reduces muscle pain if you consume an amount greater than your usual amount. Caffeine will also enhance the pain-relieving properties of other substances, which is why it’s in Excedrin and Anacin.
6. Performance. Numerous studies indicate caffeine enhances workout performance.
7. Stamina. Caffeine increases stamina during exercise.
Caffeine and Illnesses
Caffeine has also been shown to prevent, lower the risk of developing or alleviate symptoms of certain illnesses, including:
1. Asthma. Studies show caffeine helps open airways for asthmatics.
2. Suicide. People who drank 4 cups or more of coffee had a significantly lower risk of suicide than those who had one or so.
3. Parkinson’s. A study showed a reduction in Parkinson’s among a group with a higher genetic risk for the disease. It showed people who consumed caffeine were less likely to develop Parkinson’s. This study was done on Chinese people, but there’s no evidence it wouldn’t apply to any ethnic background.
4. Alzheimer’s. Although these studies were only done on mice, they show promise that caffeine may protect against Alzheimer’s.
5. Kidney stones. The theory behind the lower incidence of kidney stones is that caffeine may dilute the urine, leading to less formation.
6. Melanoma. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing melanoma. An additional study showed a lower skin cancer risk for mice.
7. Chronic inflammation. By blocking the expression of a gene, caffeine may reduce age-related inflammation that leads to high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and heart disease in regular consumers.
8. Type 2 diabetes. Numerous studies indicate that caffeine not only may increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, it may stimulate insulin activity and impair the metabolism of glucose.
A word of caution: We have chosen reputable research, but many of the touted benefits of caffeine have come from studies on mice or from studies that are unrealistic.
For example, numerous articles have proclaimed that caffeine promotes hair growth. Unfortunately, the study was performed with hair biopsies where the follicles were dipped into a solution that would prove fatal to a human being.
Be cautious about claims and consult your doctor before upping your caffeine intake.
How to Get Your Caffeine
Although coffee is the most popular way to imbibe caffeine, there are others. A cup of coffee has 138 milligrams of caffeine. Here are the figures from other sources.
—A quarter cup of espresso has 125 milligrams of caffeine.
—A cup of cappuccino has 60.
—A cup of latté has 60.
—A cup of hot tea has 47 milligrams.
—A cup of green tea has 25 milligrams.
—A can of cola has 42.
—A can of Mountain Dew has 52.
—AMP energy drink has 74 milligrams in a 240-gram (about 8.5 ounces) serving.
—Arizona Iced Tea has 38 milligrams in 20 ounces.
—A 2-oz. chocolate bar has 36.
Caffeine and Seniors
Quite frankly, at Sugar Hill Retirement Community, we don’t know what we’d do without our 10 a.m. Social Hour at the Coffee Shop.
Research has shown that most of the benefits of coffee consumption occur at about 4 cups of coffee a day, and most of the problems occur when you go over that amount. At 5 cups or more a day, your caffeine intake may cause dehydration.
Within the past 5 years, makers of energy drinks, such as 5 Hour Energy, have been targeting older adults. A regular dose contains 215 milligrams of caffeine, and extra strength is about 242 milligrams. Although there have been reports of deaths linked to energy drinks, most have been caused by ingesting too much.
Too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure, reduce bone strength and cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Overdoses of energy drinks have been linked to seizures and cardiac arrhythmias.
As with anything, caffeine should be consumed in moderation.
Nutrition Is Important
Our residents’ nutrition is important to all of us at Sugar Hill Retirement Community. Chef Tim Kennedy and his staff spend hours developing nutritious and tasty menus. For example, one evening, you can enjoy Cuban carrot soup, mixed greens with housemade Russian dressing and your choice of baked haddock Gremolata or grilled flat iron steak served with chimichurri sauce. Schedule your tour to enjoy a meal in our well-appointed dining room!