We Americans are known for guzzling down at least 4 to 5 cups of coffee a day. This is apart from the cappuccinos, espressos, and the coffee lattes. There are varied views about the health benefits of coffee. Some may proclaim that coffee is bad for your heart while others say it is good. If you are an avid coffee drinker over the age of 55 and are worrying about your coffee consumption – handling all these positive and negative comments can be extremely confusing.
Let’s take a look at some of the coffee’s health benefits and its health risks.
Coffee is a stimulant and falls into the same category as chocolates. Firstly, it should be noted that excessive consumption of anything can be harmful to your health. Having said that, getting a basic idea of what is good and bad about coffee will be beneficial in helping you make your mind up about whether to forego that morning pick-me-up with a strong cup of black coffee.
Health Benefits of Coffee
Coffee contains antioxidants that help fight various diseases. According to researchers, coffee may help prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. This is the most common form of diabetes affecting nearly 90% of the population. Type 2 Diabetes occurs when insulin does not react the way it should or if your body does not produce adequate insulin. Drinking coffee, in moderation, just may reduce your risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes. You should, of course, avoid the monster muffins and other sweet delights that are waiting there to tempt you at your favorite coffee house!
Coffee may also help combat high blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when your arteries are clogged with plaque. This causes the elevation of blood pressure so that it is able to distribute blood and oxygen to the organs in the body. Drinking coffee, in moderation, may prevent high blood pressure.
Studies indicate that coffee may contain cancer-fighting properties. Almost 50% of regular coffee drinkers reduced their risk of cancer by drinking coffee. Coffee showed signs of lowering the risk of colon, breast and rectal cancer.
Gallstones are quite a common affliction among adults over the age of 55. You can say “bye-bye” to gallstones when you drink coffee. Coffee alters the cholesterol content of bile produced in the liver. This, in turn, reduces your risk of gallstone production.
Health Risks with Coffee
Although coffee has its benefits where health is concerned, excessive caffeine consumption may have some serious health effects. Apparently, drinking excessive amounts of coffee can increase your risk of cholesterol and high blood pressure. However, this debate is highly controversial as it counteracts what is being said about the health benefits of coffee. Excessive coffee consumption also increases the loss of bone mineral density leading to osteoporosis. This news can be quite alarming to females over the age of 55 as they are already at a high risk of getting osteoporosis with menopause and would not want to add a cup of coffee to this equation.
The health effects of coffee have been argued for decades. The operative word for coffee consumption is “moderation”. If you are an avid coffee drinker who drinks more than 8 or 9 cups of coffee every day, you should consider reducing your intake of coffee. As the saying goes, “anything in excess may be harmful to you”. Keep this in mind the next time you pour your 5th cup for the day. Of course, the caffeine in coffee is addictive so you’ll need to wean yourself down from 8 or 9 to 7 or 8 gradually. Going “cold turkey” can cut back from 8 or 9 cups a day to 3 or 4 cups a day can leave you with caffeine withdrawal symptoms (like a pounding headache!).
Health is vital now that you have reached a certain age. You need to be very careful about your lifestyle choices. Exercise and proper diet are extremely necessary for optimal health. Therefore, keeping your coffee intake to a minimum is not the only thing you need for the healthy living past age 55. Choosing an active lifestyle and avoiding isolation during senior years is very important as well. If you are wondering how all this can be achieved in your senior years, consider making a life-altering transition to an Active Adult Community where life can be full of activities, exercise, and good friends to keep you company.
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