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Friday, 16 March 2007

Caffeine and Elders

category_bug_journal2.gif All nutrition reports must be read skeptically. One researcher says fish is good for us; another says the mercury will kill us. For a long time, nutritional supplements have been touted; somewhere last week I read that some might be dangerous or, at least, useless.

Personally, I’m waiting for ice cream to be declared one of the seven major food groups after which I will dismiss all follow-ups, fat and happy in my ignorance.

Caffeine is the most widely-used drug in the world. I doubt I could turn out this blog every day without my morning supply of coffee (although never in ice cream) and when I occasionally skip it, it takes a couple of hours of ass-dragging before the sleep-induced, cognitive cobwebs clear out.

There have been enough negative reports about coffee and/or caffeine over the years that I have sometimes considered giving it up. But never seriously. In old age, it is my drug of choice, so I quickly accepted as gospel truth a new report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which concluded that:

“Habitual intake of caffeinated beverages provided protection against the risk of heart disease mortality among elderly participants…”

“Elderly” being people 65 and older, and no protection was found in younger people.

"The protection against death from heart disease in the elderly afforded by caffeine is likely due to caffeine's enhancement of blood pressure," says John Kassotis, MD, associate professor of medicine at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. The researchers were from the medical center and Brooklyn College.”
Senior Journal, 27 January 2007

The advantage, say the researchers, appears to be dose-related: the more caffeine, the more protection in people without hypertension.

In a survey taken in 2004, 18 percent of respondents 65 and older said they would not give up coffee in exchange for eternal youth.

Now, it appears, they don't need to.


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 03:08 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Hurrah! I am ecstatic to read this. Coffee *is* my drug of choice and I, like you, enjoy it 9not in ice cream)and (I hate to admit it) *need* it to get me going, mental juices flowing.

Yeah! Thanks again, Ronni! Happy Friday and coffee drinking!

I'm with you. I've given up sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but I'll be damned if I'm giving up coffee!

Coffee is my oldest and dearest vice. I started drinking it when I was 17, before alcohol and cigarettes. I quit smoking in 1990 and I rarely drink these days, but for me to give up coffee would require a very large person prying the cup out of my hands.

I wouldn't care if they came up with studies linking it to certain death. I'd still start the day with the coffee brewing.

Yay! I finally got here and it's okay!! I never could REALLY drink coffee before menopause because it irritated my system (more info than you need to know?). But now I'm a big girl and can drink it happily. I remember when I started asking for it and my daughters-in-law turned slowly around and stared. "You drink coffee?" You'd think I had asked for a fix!(bearing in mind many people feel that way about it...oh yeah)

I can do without coffee, but not without tea. I often think that what I need is the intake of hot fluids.
There's nothing I would give up for eternal youth (too late anyway) but now, if they found something against joint pain, I might consider giving up my gallons of tea ;)

Darn... I was on a roll until I got the the part about "in people without hypertension." Oh, well! Everybody has to die of something!

Isn't it interesting how we develop such disparate personal habits? Grandmother took up coffee drinking at age 80. Perhaps I shall do the same.

Although I enjoy a hint of coffee in ice cream (or breakfast bars), I cannot tolerate the smell of a cup of coffee, much less of a pot of it perking. My caffeine source of choice is Diet Dr P. Lack of morning caffeine can send me to migraine city.

Oh, Cop Car! I can't imagine anyone not loving the smell of a fresh pot of coffee!!!!! Of course, nowadays with my defunct smeller, I can only remember the delicious aroma.

Notdotdot, I LOVE the part about "I'm a big girl now" relating to post menopausal life.

I was initiated into coffee drinking at a very early age; when I was 4 years old, my great aunt, Minnie, would stir about 3 tablespoons of coffee into my milk, dose it liberally with sugar and serve it to me in a real mug - just like hers - every morning when she babysat me.

Guess how I still drink it? (well, sort of. I use CoffeeMate creamer instead of a big glass of milk.)

Gosh, thinking about it, I can still see the little breakfast nook in my Aunt's home; the pretty dark red glassware on the plastic yellow tablecloth. I can see out the screen door of the backporch and smell the ripe figs on the bush just beyond the steps. The kitchen floor creaks as you walk near the sink, and the ancient wavy glass in the cabinet doors make my image exaggerated and carnival-like.

Excuse me, Aunt Minnie is calling. My big girl coffee is ready...

I take my caffeine cold, so it's diet Pepsi for me. I love the smell of coffee, but I don't drink it.

When I was a small child, my father had coffee with his breakfast every morning. I would sit beside him and begged for a sip. He would always refuse me saying, "Coffee will put hair on your chest." Then he would open his shirt and show me the hair. I never did learn to drink coffee!

So I start my day with a cold caffeine fix.

Add me to the ColdCaffeine bunch - here I am. A Finlander. Who does not like coffee. Go figure! Without my morning swig of diet Pepsi, I am sunk, sunk, sunk. I adore the CaffeineGod.

For those of us suffering from thyroid disease, caffeine may exacerbate symptoms. Some studies show that it alters TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

I found out it did for me. I ended giving coffee up during an extended camping vacation. When I returned my TSH levels were off the charts. I couldn't sleep for more than two hours a night for about a month. I was referred to a specialist and my medications changed. The upside is that now that I don't take caffeine, I don't have to take as much medicine.

Ah coffee -- the only real coffee for me is black, no sugar, which is the way I've always drunk it. For many years whether at home or work a cup of coffee appeared to be a permanent appendage on one of my arms (before computers.) A pot was always hot and brewing at home, too. Then, over ten years or so ago I switched to hot green tea which is my drink of choice now. When I go out I usually order coffee though, mainly 'cause it's easier to keep getting refills. I can go either way.

I, too, need my java jolt to get going in the morning. However, since it is a diuretic, I now drink tea if I have an early morning appointment. But on weekends it's a given that I have coffee brewing and wouldn't give it up for anything. When I first started drinking coffee at the age of 21 I used cream and sugar. A few extra pounds crept on and I dropped the sugar. My Aunt told me I had eliminated to wrong thing calorie wise. By that time I was used to doing without sugar so I eliminated the cream and have taken it black ever since.

That means I have to start drinking coffee again ? Hope they don't find that the Surgeon General was wrong all this time and cigarettes are good for you too and I'll have to start smoking again too !

Coffee was my husbands drug of choice also until his urologist told him to eliminate caffeine. That was difficult. He now drinks a hot roasted barley beverage with unsweetened chocolate almond milk and Splenda. It isn't the same but it is as close as he can get. Strange but after I stopped drinking coffee I find that I don't like it anymore. I prefer my caffeine in tea.

I have searched the internet and have not found the research that indicated caffeine is indicated in bladder cancer but apparently it is a know bladder irritant.

We did get used to waking up more or less alert after a few weeks of being without coffee.

Hallelujah! I need to jumpstart my blood every morning and I can't do that without two cups of coffee!!! This is the best news I've had in weeks!!!

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