Medical research continues to strive to improve the quality of our lives. After being in the medical field for multiple decades, I often wish that I could turn back the clock. There is so much additional information to study and learn.
Neuroscience is the study of the brain. This very delicate organ has revealed that exercise and meditation can keep it young and vibrant. But that isn’t all.
Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Aging discovered that compounds found in caffeine have clear effects on the brain. Caffeine can promote prolonged cognitive performance and can protect against stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The beneficial effects of the caffeine found in coffee, tea and dark chocolate promote brain health. Studies also reveal that caffeine makes the brain more flexible and resilient. In other words, regular caffeine intake can make you smarter.
An important way to keep the brain healthy while aging should include coffee, tea and cacao or chocolate. In the past caffeine in any form was prohibited for cardiovascular health. New studies find that habitual coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in women.
The American Heart Association recommends only one to two cups of caffeine daily. The coffee should be brewed using paper filters which remove a compound that increases LDL cholesterol. The study on brain health suggests four to five cups daily spread throughout the day. A few cups in the morning with an ounce of dark chocolate in the afternoon sounds like an easy solution to cardiac and brain health.
Due to genetics some people are slow metabolizers of caffeine. A little dose of caffeine can give some people the jitters, palpitations and impair sleep. It is also addictive and withdrawal symptoms appear with a sudden cut back. Paying attention to adverse reactions and avoiding them while including daily caffeine is the key.
Caffeine has also been linked to weight loss and a sharper mental focus. Research has shown that it may improve your mood and enhance performance during exercise.
Coffee is associated with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Controlling the milk, cream, sugar and syrup added to daily java also affects the risk of diabetes. Plopping an ounce of dark chocolate into a cup of coffee will boost caffeine and improve quality of life.
The incidence of brain cancer is also decreased with caffeine. The antioxidants found in coffee, tea and chocolate also help to protect cells from damage.
Another attractive statistic associated with daily consumption of coffee, both caffeinated and decaf alike, is a lower risk of total mortality, including deaths from heart disease, nervous system diseases and suicide. Consuming coffee with a friend or loved one improves these statistics even more.
At times medical studies predict doom and gloom. When the studies reveal a beneficial rationale for not changing a daily pleasure like caffeine, life is good.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column shared through the AIM Media Midwest group of newspapers.