Kenya: Should You Quit Coffee As You Get Older? Maybe. Maybe Not

9 September 2021

There are tons of research studies whose results hail the benefits of coffee to your body.

Some reports have gone as far as claiming that the only unhealthy thing in your cup of coffee is the milk, cream, or sugar that you add.

Some studies even suggest that it can reverse the damage of alcohol on the liver. Interestingly, even in the face of such glowing praises, many people tend to reduce their coffee intake as they get older.

Now that you are in your 50s, should you do the same? Or is it just a myth that has gone on for so long that people started believing?

What happens when older people quit coffee

A study carried out in Spain in 2015 sought to see how quitting coffee affects the elderly. The study involved almost 500 people that used to drink coffee at the start.

A third of the participants stopped getting their regular cup of coffee as the study progressed. Those who quit reported deteriorated physical health since they stopped their coffee intake.

Some of the respondents also reported increased depression and anxiety and decreased levels of concentration.

One of the main limitations of the study, however, is that it is possible that the people that quit did so after noticing health problems.

Further research will, therefore, need to be carried out. But so far, it appears that coffee is good for you even as you age.

When it may be necessary to stop drinking coffee

Most studies so far show minimal negative effects of coffee on healthy people. However, there are concerns on the effect that it may have on older people with underlying conditions.

Some experts therefore advise older people to reduce or stop taking caffeinated coffee for the following reasons:

Mental health

Caffeine increases your energy alertness. It's probably why you take it. So, it must be a good thing. Not always.

The alertness and burst of energy put you in a fight or flight mode. This can increase anxiety especially among people that are prone to the disorder. Over time, the anxiety can lead to other mental conditions especially when coupled with cognitive decline.

The effect on mental health is further exacerbated by coffee's disruption on sleep and sleep patterns. Your brain requires rest and sleep to rejuvenate itself. The prolonged deprivation of sleep through coffee intake can lead to serious mental health problems.

Coffee and blood pressure

Research on the effect of coffee on blood pressure is conflicted. Some experts argue that coffee increases the likelihood of age-related problems, especially in men.

Others state that the effect of caffeine on your blood pressure is temporary when the coffee is in your system.

A third school of thought says that caffeine only causes a spike in blood pressure in people with low metabolism rates.

Due to the conflicting reports on the connection between coffee and blood pressure, it is advisable that you get your doctor's opinion before deciding whether to continue taking coffee.

Acid reflux and digestion problems

If you have an acid reflux problem, you may have observed incidents when you take coffee. If this keeps happening, it's time to quit the beverage altogether. Or may try decaf options.

However, no results have shown that coffee can cause acid reflux. It only makes the condition worse among those who already suffer from the condition.

Some scientists have also hypothesised that coffee interrupts digestion in some people. In extreme cases it may even hinder the absorption of some nutrients, specifically calcium and some vitamins.

If you have observed such effects on your health, consider alternative beverages and leave coffee.

There is no straight answer

A lot of research has been carried out on the effect of coffee but the results are almost always non-conclusive.

This may be attributed to the fact that many of these studies have been done in recent decades and thus long-term effects have not yet been observed.

Also, it appears that the effect of coffee on an older person depends on a lot of factors. Your metabolism, underlying conditions, the amount of coffee you take and the frequency are just some of them.

With so much uncertainty on the issue, it is best to observe how coffee affects you personally and also have your doctor help you in the assessment before making the final decision.

Ultimately, you are only answerable to yourself. You can quit the drink just to get better sleep or because you don't like the taste anymore.

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