Are you a coffee lover? If so, you’re in luck.
Coffee is not only a delicious and energizing drink. It can also help you maintain or improve your physical fitness and longevity as you age. This is crucial because aging is often associated with a decline in muscle strength, endurance, and function, which can increase your risk of disability, dependence, or death. This condition is known as physical frailty, and it can affect your quality of life and well-being.
We all want to live long, well, and be able to enjoy life with our friends and family. We want to be able to move and do the things we love. I’d rather live into my 90’s while being active and strong than live to be 100 but needing assistance from others. How about you?
Can coffee help us achieve that? Let’s find out.
The Global Challenge of Aging and Frailty
By the year 2030, one out of every six people in the world will be over 60 years old. By the year 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people over 60. That means there will be a lot of older people on this planet, and we need to make sure they are healthy and happy.
But if a lot of older people are frail and weak and need help from younger people, we will have a big problem. It will be hard to take care of everyone and make sure they have a good quality of life. So we need to find ways to prevent or delay frailty and keep older people strong and independent.
We know that eating well and exercising can help with that. But what about drinking coffee?
The Evidence for Coffee as a Frailty Preventive Agent
According to a new 2023 study, drinking four or more cups of coffee a day can lower your risk of becoming frail as you get older. This study looked at more than 12,000 people and followed them for a long time, from when they were 53 years old to when they were 73 years old. They found that the more coffee they drank, the stronger and healthier they were.
They found that tea can help too, but not as much as coffee. Coffee has more caffeine than tea, but that may not be the only reason. There may be other components in coffee that help too. But how does coffee actually work to prevent frailty? Well, there are three possible ways that scientists have proposed.
1. Coffee and Tea Have Antioxidants That Fight Inflammation
The first way is that coffee and tea have antioxidants, which are natural substances that fight inflammation. Inflammation can happen when you get sick or injured, but it can also happen when you get older. Inflammation can damage your muscles and make you weaker and more prone to injury.
But coffee and tea have antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid and epicatechin, that can reduce inflammation and protect your muscles. This can help you stay strong and pain-free and be able to move better.
2. Caffeine Can Enhance Your Muscle Growth and Performance
The second way is that caffeine can enhance your muscle growth and performance. This is based on studies that were done on mice and rats, so we don’t know for sure if it works the same way in humans, but it’s still intriguing.
These studies showed that caffeine can make your muscles stronger, bigger, and faster by doing three things:
- It lowers inflammation, which we already talked about.
- It increases IGF-1, which is a hormone that helps your muscles grow and repair.
- It increases Akt, which is a protein that helps your muscles fuse and work together.
These three things can help you maintain or increase your muscle mass and strength as you get older, which can prevent or delay frailty.
3. Coffee Gives You Energy and Motivation to Move More
The third way is that coffee gives you energy and motivation to move more. This is probably the most obvious and the most straightforward way. There are studies that show that drinking one or two cups of coffee can make you more likely to meet the physical activity guidelines for the day. These are the recommendations for how much exercise you should do to stay healthy.
What this means is that when you drink coffee, you feel more awake and alert and ready to do things. You may get up from your couch and walk around, do some chores, play with your kids or grandkids, go for a bike ride, or anything else that you enjoy. Moving more can help you stay fit and prevent frailty.
But Not All Coffee Is Good for You
Now, before you go and drink all the coffee you can find, there is one thing that you need to know. Not all coffee is good for you. In fact, some types of coffee may actually cancel out the effects that we just talked about. And that is unfiltered coffee.
Unfiltered coffee is coffee that is brewed without a paper filter, such as French press, Turkish coffee, or espresso. It may taste stronger and richer, but it also contains more of what is called cafestol and kahweol, which are compounds that can get into your body and potentially increase the amount of fats in your blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides. This may increase the risk of heart disease and early death, as shown by a large study that looked at 508,000 coffee drinkers.
So if you want to enjoy the benefits of coffee for frailty prevention, you may want to stick to filtered coffee, such as drip, pour-over, or instant coffee.
Learn more about Paper-Filtered Coffee and Cholesterol
The Unexpected Benefits of Instant Coffee
Now, speaking of instant coffee, you may be surprised to learn that instant coffee is actually one of the best types of coffee for your health. It has a lot of polyphenols, caffeine, and antioxidants, which are the things that help you prevent frailty.
Instant coffee is also very convenient, cheap, and easy to make. You just need some hot water and a spoon, and you’re good to go. You can also add some creamer, milk, or sweetener if you like, but try to keep it moderate and avoid artificial ingredients.
So if you’re looking for a simple and effective way to boost your physical fitness and longevity, you may want to give instant coffee a try. It may not be the best tasting coffee, but it may be the best coffee for your health.
https://www.nia.nih.gov/research/dbsr/global-aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433026/ https://www.jamda.com/article/S1525-8610(23)00575-3/fulltext https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-018-1664-7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9421071/ https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2023.1075817/full https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29549497/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23442632/ https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/2047487320914443 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9318773/