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Caffeine’s Surprising Protective Benefits

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

While the potential risks of overdoing it with caffeine are well known, there are some surprising health benefits associated with the most widely used substance in the world. According to Fairfield elder care professionals, it’s the protective benefits of caffeine that can be especially beneficial to seniors.

Reduced Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

The risk of developing diabetes increases with age. One study noted a nine percent decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among those who drank at least one cup of coffee a day, suggesting preventative effects that may extend to seniors.

Improved Logical Reasoning Skills

A study of soldiers lacking sufficient sleep found that 200 mg doses of caffeine improved marksmanship, suggesting improved logical reasoning skills. Caffeine may have a similar impact on seniors who need to remain alert during the day to maintain a normal sleep cycle.

Reduced Cognitive Decline

Various studies suggest caffeine may provide a memory boost and prevent cognitive decline, with one study noting the afternoon as the best time for seniors to drink coffee since this is a period of reduced alertness. A study involving mice with Alzheimer’s noted indicators that memory was preserved or protected in subjects given 500 mg of caffeine.

Reduced Risk of Developing Parkinson’s

A Swedish study on the effects of caffeine on patients with Parkinson’s disease found that it interacts with a dopamine receptor responsible for controlling the flow of calcium, which plays an important role in cell functioning. Healthier cells, especially those in parts of the brain regulating memory and coordination, may reduce the risk of developing PD.

Up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is the safe amount typically recommended for adults, which equals about 4 full cups of coffee. Healthy caffeinated alternatives to coffee for seniors include hot or iced tea, hot chocolate, diet soft drinks, and some types of pure dark chocolate.

Learn more about promoting senior health by reaching out to the friendly staff at Home Care Assistance. Our Fairfield respite care and live-in care services ensure seniors have help with everything from healthy meal preparation to cognitive stimulation. For more information, call 203-955-1915 and schedule a free in-home consultation.