Dementia; it is a word that frightens the strongest of us. For those who have had family members and other loved ones live with this completely debilitating disease, the heartbreak is unforgettable. Caring for those with Dementia can be one of the most helpless feelings and unfortunately, for many dementia patients, Alzheimer’s becomes the next challenge. Over the years we have read articles about how to ward off this disease that they used to call, “the old age” disease, but how many of these ideas and theories really work?
This week The Oxford University Press has just released research that says that our daily cup of coffee may be the best solution to warding off dementia, particularly for women.
Of course, as with any research on natural remedies and preventative medicine, there are specific guidelines that must be followed for the remedy to work to its fullest potential. Caffeine is still a touchy subject among physicians and other healthcare practitioners. Too much caffeine intake, according to some doctors, is not a good thing. So what exactly is the Oxford Press saying in this latest article? This specific study conducted among older women, ages 65 and over, included a follow-up period of over ten years. During the ten year period, these women consumed at least 260 mg of caffeine daily. Their risk of suffering from dementia dropped approximately 36 percent and it did not seem to matter how they consumed these caffeine levels. Some of the women were coffee drinkers, some tea drinkers, and yes, others drank a good old-fashioned cola for their daily caffeine dosage. 261 mg of caffeine equals about two-three 8 oz. cups of coffee, about five 8 oz cups of black tea, which is one of the most naturally caffeinated teas on the market.
Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ira Driscoll, PhD. was the leader of the study and told the Oxford University Press that what was most unique about her study was that she got the opportunity to study women from all walks of life, various races, genetics, and differences in eating and living habits; so the study’s benefits were not dependent on the type of person or their heritage. Across the board, all women who participated in the study, reduced their risk of dementia. The women were gathered for participation from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study developed and funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. A portion of these women had already been diagnosed with a probable chance of dementia, but none were suffering from the disease at the time of the ten year study.
Though the women in Dr. Ira Driscoll’s study consumed their caffeine intake in various ways, what is not recommended is drinking multiple cans of cola the way some of the women did. Overall mental and physical health comes from eating the right foods and a moderate amount of exercise. Moderation is still the best key for unlocking the secrets to a long, active, and healthy life. If you are not a caffeine drinker or don’t choose to add caffeine into your diet, there are other ways to lessen your risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
One way to keep the brain and memory sharp is to read. Reading well into the senior years has been proven to also help ward off many of the mental signs of old age. Puzzles are another mental exercise that will help keep your memory sharp. A daily dose of the New York Times crossword puzzles is great medicine to assist in maintaining a healthy mind. There is also great evidence that trying new things on a regular basis is a natural and effective way to keep dementia at bay. Learning things like how to crochet, create art, going back to school for history, studying a foreign language, are all wonderful and truly effective ways to keep the mind young.
If you are still mobile and in relatively good physical health, dancing and social activities like learning the tango, are ways to use the body and the mind to learn something new and exciting. It is wise to continue socializing and being around people you enjoy, of all ages. It keeps you young and interested in the modern world. Take an online course and get to know some of the ins and outs of the Internet. Technology is also a good way to exercise the brain and stay current, as well as the fact that the Internet can be a useful tool as we get older, by making things like banking and keeping up with friends and family, a lot easier.
In other words, you don’t need to change your caffeine intake if you choose not to, but you can give the brain a great workout by making fun changes in your life on a regular basis.
References: Science Daily