Effects of Caffeine

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Coffee drinkers will say coffee is what makes their day. It can, but too much of anything can also be detrimental to one’s health.

“Coffee is the most frequently consumed caffeine-containing beverage,” said Erika Gonzalez, a nutritionist at Kilo Nutrition. “The caffeine in coffee is a bioactive compound with stimulatory effects on the central nervous system and a positive effect on long-term memory. Although coffee consumption has been historically linked to adverse health effects, new research indicates that coffee consumption may be beneficial.”

The long term memory benefit can help people with trouble focusing or remembering details — which can be especially helpful for older adults who struggle with memory.

Gonzalez emphasized there are both pros and cons of caffeine consumption.

“Epidemiological data supports the view that habitual coffee consumption has several health benefits, including lower risks of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

These two diseases are often linked to seniors and older adults, which reinforces the idea that it is good for older people to consume caffeine.

“It can offer a favorable effect on liver function, a possible role in weight loss, and a decreased risk of developing certain cancers,” she said.

It is also common for coffee/caffeine to be related to weight loss programs. Gonzalez explained, it has the effect of helping metabolic rate and stimulating the body to increase energy.

“A daily intake of three to four eight ounce cups of brewed coffee, or five servings of caffeinated soft drinks or tea may be considered a moderate amount for most adults and appears to be associated with a neutral to potentially beneficial effect on health,” she said. “Children ages 6 to 12 can consume 45 to 85 mg/day and adolescents 100–175 mg/day. People with dyslipidemia may consider brewed or filtered coffee to avoid cafestol and kahweol.”

Overall, Gonzalez said it is best for caffeine to be consumed moderately, especially as it can sometimes lead to people consuming more lactose or sugar than they should.

Elsa Cavazos