Caffeine and Senior Heart Health: What to Know

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It’s been said that everything is good in moderation and considering the fact that the about 80% of the world’s population is dependent on caffeine to get through their day, according to the Journal of Food Science, we’re all hoping that’s true. Caffeine is most commonly consumed in coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks. But there are so many conflicting reports about the risks and benefits of caffeine that it can be confusing to understand it’s true impact on the body, especially when it comes to senior heart health. Here’s what you should consider.

Caffeine and Senior Heart Health

The research on how caffeine affects senior heart health is mixed. Most recent studies show it may actually reduce your risk for heart failure, according to WebMD, which cites analysis from three major studies, the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study, which followed for than 21,000 U.S. adults for at least ten years. Although findings showed that caffeine from any source appeared to be associated with decreased heart failure risk, coffee in particular could be part of a healthy dietary plan if consumed plain, without added sugar and cream, and in moderation.

Caffeine in Moderation

In terms of senior heart health, how much caffeine is just enough and how much is too much? According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s safe for most healthy adults to consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day which is roughly the amount found in:
  • Four cups of brewed coffee
  • 10 cans of cola
  • Two energy drinks
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Keep in mind that reading labels is important. While a standard size cup of coffee is eight ounces, your mug at home or the coffee shop may be larger and caffeine content, especially among energy drinks, varies widely. Not to mention, you should also consider how the amount of sugar in soda impacts senior hearth health. What’s more, over time your body develops a tolerance to the amount of coffee you consume. Other factors like age, body mass, and overall health can determine your tolerance to caffeine, as well. But it’s not just tolerance that changes over time, research has found that it takes seniors 33% longer to metabolize caffeine compared to younger adults.

When Is Caffeine a Concern

Caffeine is a stimulant, and consuming too much of it can cause side effects such as headache, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, frequent urination, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. Plus, some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. Be particularly careful if you’re taking medications or supplements that may interact with caffeine. If you’re concerned about the effects of caffeine on senior heart health, teas are usually lower in caffeine than coffee. If you want to decrease the amount of caffeine you consume, it’s best to decrease your consumption slowly by:
  • Cutting back gradually: For example, drink one less can of soda a day or a smaller cup of coffee each day.
  • Avoid caffeine late in the day: This helps your body get used to the lower levels of caffeine and lessens potential withdrawal effects.
  • Shorten the brew time: When making tea, brew it for less time to cut down on its caffeine content.
As always, talk to your doctor before making any major decisions concerning your diet or senior heart health. For more information on senior heart health, download the Vitality Vitality Guide to Aging Well today! Or contact us today to schedule a tour of a community near you.