Or it could be that insufferable green tea drinker at the office. You know, that chirpy little thing who’s always telling you that you’d feel so much better if you just gave up the java, and saying “Don’t you know that there’s a link between coffee and old age?” The one you’d like to strangle with the teakettle cord, but you can’t do that because her dad is the boss, and besides, they sort of tend to want to put you in jail for committing homicide. Although in her case, you think it would be more accurately called “pesticide.”
Back to the point, though. Does coffee age you? Well, for now we’re going to leave you with a resounding “Maybe,” and talk about other things that can cause you to age prematurely. Some of them actually go hand-in-hand with coffee much of the time.
The Top Ten Contributors to Premature Aging
It’s probably a given that nobody is enthusiastic about getting old. Our bodies start to slow down, our bones get weaker, and we develop wrinkles. Human beings generally being a pretty vain lot, much of the time we’re less concerned about the physical effects of aging than we are about the appearance – which is why companies that manufacture anti-aging creams, and plastic surgeons that offer face lifts and Botox treatments, are never going to go out of business.
As you read through the top ten contributors to premature aging, you will notice that many of them have little more than a cosmetic effect. Others have very real consequences in terms of compromising your health and potentially even shortening your life. Here they are, in no particular order.
One of the biggest enemies when it comes to premature aging is dehydration, and it’s one of the things that makes itself immediately visible. Dehydrated skin is prone to wrinkling, and the older we get, the more problematic this becomes. Aging skin does not retain moisture as well as more youthful skin, so it’s even more important as we age to make sure we consume enough water.
“Oh,” you say, “But I use a really expensive moisturizing cream, so I don’t have to worry so much about how much water I’m drinking.” Wrong. Even the best moisturizer does not, in and of itself, hydrate your skin. Instead, it helps your skin to retain its natural moisture, and that moisture comes from within, in the form of the fluids you consume.
“But,” you say, “I drink at least twelve cups of coffee a day, so I’m getting plenty of fluid.” Again, wrong. Coffee is actually a diuretic – it works to remove moisture from your body. So in this case, the answer to the question “Does coffee age you” is “Yes. If coffee is the only fluid you’re consuming, it can lead to a prematurely aged appearance.”
It’s fine to drink coffee – but don’t make it a substitute for water. And don’t neglect your skin if you don’t want to appear old before your time. Drink plenty of non-dehydrating fluids, and use a good moisturizer to keep in those vital fluids.
2. Sleeping Face-Down
Anything that causes your face to be compressed into one single pattern is going to lead to wrinkles, and one of the worst things you can do is sleep on your face. Try sleeping on your side, and changing sides from time to time. If you feel that you can’t do this, then using a wrinkle-reducing pillow can work to some degree to offset wrinkling.
3. Eating Garbage
Okay, so we’re not talking about actual garbage, in the sense of things that you’d put out at the curb for pickup on trash day – that would be pretty crazy, right? We’re talking about foods that just aren’t all that good for you.
Maybe this sounds like harsh terminology, but the fact is that a lot of the foods we put into our bodies are crap, pure and simple. Take a walk through your grocery store, and see how much space is devoted to frozen pizzas and entrees, toaster waffles, processed meats, white bread, potato chips, soda, energy drinks and so on. Then take a drive past McDonalds or Arby’s or any of the other innumerable fast food outlets in your community. This is what some people consume every day of their lives, and they actually call it food!
Here’s a news flash – it might be what most of the population eats, but nobody in their right mind would actually call all that processed stuff “good” food. If you think it is, then you need to make some changes if you’re not going to end up prematurely aged due to poor nutrition. The question “Does coffee age you?” is actually the least of your worries. You’re more likely to end up with heart disease or bowel cancer due to trans fats and lack of fiber in your diet.
People are meant to eat fresh vegetables, quality meats and whole grains, not a steady diet of Big Macs and frozen pizzas! The best thing you can do to avoid aging prematurely is to adopt a good diet and throw out all that crap that manufacturers have been leading you to believe is good for you – sure, that frozen entrée that has the word “healthy” in its brand name has only 230 calories. But take a look at the ingredient list and see what’s actually making up those calories, and also at the amount of sodium and fat in your entrée, and you’ll probably be horrified!
Okay, rant over, moving on now.
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4. Chewing Your Cud
Some readers might remember the days when if you were caught chewing gum in school, the teacher would make you put it on your nose, and then stand you in the corner. Today, gum-chewing isn’t considered to be offensive. In fact, you can even see people in service jobs, chomping away. The thing is, whether you consider it to be socially acceptable or not, chewing gum can lead to the premature appearance of aging. This is because you’re using your mouth in a certain way, repetitively, and it destroys the elasticity of your skin. In other words, those of you who look like a cow chewing their cud are going to wrinkle up and look old before your time.
If you really want to avoid the appearance of premature aging, you should pretend you’re a vampire – stay out of the sun! That pretty tan that looks so nice right now is going to eventually translate into worn, leathery skin, so if you absolutely must go out in the mid-day sun, at the very least make sure that you use your sun block. You should also wear sunglasses, because if you don’t, you’re going to end up squinting, and eventually that’s going to break down the collagen around your eyes and lead to permanent creasing.
6. Staring at a Screen
One of our friends recently reported that, on her way to work, she passed a bus stop where probably about a dozen people were congregated. Not one single person was talking to another – they were all hunched over staring at their cell phone screens! The thing is, looking at these tiny little screens is another thing that causes you to squint. And it’s also believed that the light from computer screens can work to break down collagen, also causing a prematurely aged appearance.
7. Miller Time!
We all love getting together with our friends and tossing back a few brewskies or cocktails, and realistically, there’s probably nothing wrong with occasional indulgence. But if you consume more than five alcoholic drinks in any given week, your skin will suffer – not to mention your liver! Alcohol has absolutely no valuable nutrients, and it can also work to destroy Vitamin A in your system. Vitamin A is one of the most important antioxidants when it comes to cellular regeneration, and therefore a huge culprit when it comes to premature aging.
8. Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you could end up not just feeling “off,” but looking prematurely aged. In fact, studies have shown that women who get less than 5 hours sleep in any given night look twice as wrinkled as those that get at least 7 hours sleep!
So does coffee age you? Well, if too much caffeine is keeping you awake at night, it seems logical to think that it does. It’s a false logic, though – your breakfast coffee and your lunchtime coffee, and that cup you throw back at break time in the afternoon, are not in and of themselves going to age you, and they’re not going to keep you awake. Keep your coffee consumption to the early daytime hours, and you’ll be able to sleep at night.
9. Temperature Extremes
Temperatures that are too high or too low can dry out your skin, and lead to a prematurely aged appearance. It’s best to keep your thermostat set at a sensible level and keep it there, rather than ratchet it up or down depending on how you’re feeling at any particular moment. When you go out in the cold weather, bundle up. And if it’s hot outside, stay hydrated and use sun block.
Well, we said we weren’t going to do this in any particular order, but we’ve left smoking to the last because it’s the absolute worst thing you can do, on so many levels. First of all, if you smoke, you’re going to be contorting your face into the worst possible positions. Your upper lip is going to be sucked in, and that’s going to create vertical line wrinkles that you’re never going to be able to get rid of, no matter how much moisturizing cream you use. You also tend to squint when smoking, and that can create those nasty “11” lines above your nose, just between your eyes, as well as forehead wrinkles. You’re also going to be running the risk of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), emphysema and even lung cancer – in which case you’re going to be lucky if you live to look old, never mind be old!
We really shouldn’t have to lecture you on the evils of smoking. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last century, you should know what they are.
Here is where drinking coffee can become really harmful, although not directly – if you smoke, and you drink coffee, you might be what’s known as “cross-addicted.” In other words, you’re not just hooked on coffee, and you’re not just hooked on cigarettes – the two go together for you. You can’t imagine getting up in the morning and not having a cup of coffee and a smoke. One simply does not happen without the other. And you don’t want to give up either.
We’re not going to lie to you – this type of cross-addiction is very hard to break. And you might even have a third addiction to add to the already nasty mess – you need a coffee and a smoke while you check your Facebook!
It’s habit, pure and simple, and very difficult to get past. If you want to break free, you might try checking your Facebook later in the day. You can also tell yourself that you’ll have your cigarette after you have your coffee. Once you’ve got the coffee in you, tell yourself that you’ll check your Facebook after you’re had your cigarette. In short, break up the habits so that they don’t all go together. Can coffee age you? You bet it can, if you’re combining it with other destructive habits like smoking.
But what about coffee in and of itself? Will it harm you? There are studies that have indicated that coffee could be harmful to your health. We won’t bore you with a lot of details, but we do think that it’s worth talking about the possible aging effects of coffee.
How Does Coffee Age You?
Before we get into this in any detail, it’s worth pointing out that it’s a lot more difficult to find evidence that coffee will age you than it is to find evidence to the contrary, or even that coffee could be a very beneficial brew. We want to present an even-handed, objective assessment, though, so here is some of the evidence that suggests you might end up being prematurely aged if you drink coffee.
Mayo Clinic Study
A study done at the Mayo clinic suggests that if you drink more than four 8-ounce cups of coffee in any given day, you might be 21% more likely to die early. However, you have to take this in the context that most of the people who participated in the survey had a poor fitness level, and also smoked.
The study also showed that consuming coffee could raise blood pressure, and could lead to heart attacks in young adults who already had high blood pressure. Caffeine binges were also shown to lead to an increased likelihood of gout, or, in women, breast cysts. However, this has to be taken in the context, again, that most of the participants were smokers, and smoking is known to raise blood pressure and be complicit in causing many types of cancer. It also has to be taken in the context of the likelihood of developing any these ailments to begin with. As an example, according to Harvard Health, your risk of developing gout is about 4%. If you add in the coffee, your risk jumps to a whole 4.8%. Given the low risk of developing gout to begin with, that 21% figure that sounds so scary to begin with really doesn’t amount to a hill of [coffee] beans in the grand scheme of things.
The study also revealed that consuming caffeine can cause headaches. Wow, who knew? Not getting enough sleep, being hung over, feeling stressed, taking a blow to the head in a bar fight, and having dinner with your in-laws.
In the same study, it was shown that men and women who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had a slightly higher risk of miscarriage. So slight that it was barely even measurable.
Um, excuse us? Both men and women have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage? Let’s not even go there.
We think you see where we’re going with this. Coffee might not be healthy for everyone. Especially for men who might be in danger of miscarrying.
This same study showed that caffeine overdose from over-consumption of coffee is possible. In fact, it could lead to “adverse symptoms including death.” Adverse symptoms including death? LOL! From our perspective, it couldn’t get too much more adverse!
American Menopause Society
A study published in The Journal of The North American Menopause Society suggests that, in menopausal women, drinking coffee can lead to depression and anxiety, and even the need for medication to ease the symptoms of these disorders. It can also lead to panic attacks. The study also suggests that people who consume coffee are more likely to drink sugary beverages, and therefore to develop diabetes and become obese.
Even if you dismiss this as the nonsense that it probably is, you do have to consider the legitimate finding that caffeine interferes with bone development, and that heavy coffee drinkers could be at a greater risk of bone fractures.
You also have to consider the obvious finding, and here we will quote, that “caffeine does not help with prolonged sleep deprivation.” Well, who knew? If you’re not getting enough sleep, coffee is going to help? Can’t imagine how anyone ever figured that out.
This study also informs us that if you can’t figure out how to manage your caffeine intake, you could end up with a problem that is out of control. And that maybe you should consider detoxing from coffee. Again, who knew?
Oh, and then they try to sell you a “comprehensive caffeine detox book” that “may be the best $20 you’ve ever spent.” Go figure.
All joking aside, though, it probably goes without saying that if you can’t manage your caffeine intake, you could quickly end up with a problem that’s not controllable. So if you find yourself in the position of having an out-of-control caffeine problem, you’re going to have to do something.
Caffeine is a Drug
The thing is, caffeine is a drug, and it can affect you adversely in the same way as any other drug. It could cause an irregular heartbeat, tremors, bone loss, and even hallucinations in extreme cases. And you need to keep in mind that coffee is an industry, in which the purveyors spend untold amounts of money in order to convince you that their products are good for you. The flip side, though, is that for almost every product on the market, there’s going to be someone who’s going to tell you that it’s not good for you, and offer products that you can pay for that will help you get off the product that they say is not good for you.
So how do you know if you’re safe drinking coffee?
Well, you can rely on the research to some extent, but you need to do a lot of research on your own. Remember that Google is your friend, but remember also that when you Google strings like “Is coffee good for me,” or “Is coffee bad for me,” or “Does coffee age you,” when you see that first page, you might only be seeing one side of the story. You need to go deeper. Yes, we know that nobody ever goes to page 2 of the Google results, but if you do, you’ll get more information ad be able to make a more informed decision. If you have all kinds of time on your hands and nothing better to do with it, you might even want to investigate page 3!
Tons of research has been done on the benefits and disadvantages of coffee, and generally speaking, the conventional wisdom is that coffee will not harm you and might even be good for you.
The thing is, people drink coffee every single day, and nobody is dropping dead because of it. In fact, it’s been proven that coffee is very high in antioxidants, and linked to a reduction in risk of several diseases.
You have to remember, though, that coffee contains caffeine, and that’s a stimulant that can lead to a disruption in sleep for a lot of people. So there are positives and negatives when it comes to coffee.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what’s in your cup of coffee.
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 2% of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): 11% of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 2% of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 6% of the daily requirement
- Folate: 1% of the daily requirement
- Potassium: 3% of the daily requirement
- Manganese: 3% of the daily requirement
- Magnesium: 2% of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 1% of the daily requirement
Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But add it up, and compare it with how many cups of coffee you drink in any given day, and you’ll see that it actually contributes quite a bit to your daily nutrients.
Where coffee really stands out, though, is when it comes to antioxidants. The typical American will actually get more antioxidants from their daily intake of coffee than they will from vegetables and fruits. In fact, according to Medical News Today, coffee contains enough antioxidants that consuming a few cups a day can reduce your risk of developing liver disease in a huge way.
Coffee Loves Your Liver!
The liver is a largely uncomplaining organ, and most people don’t even think about their liver until it starts acting up. Now, you probably think of your liver in the context of how much alcohol you consume, and if you’re a big drinker, you might worry about what’s happening. We’re not suggesting that you shouldn’t curtail your alcohol consumption, but you might feel better knowing that if you drink coffee, your risk of developing liver cirrhosis drops by about 84%. Just a few cups of coffee a day can reduce your risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer substantially.
But, you’re asking, what about what you just said about low risk to begin with?
Okay, this isn’t the 4% gout thing. Your risk of developing liver disease is already 20%. Now do the math.
Coffee is Brain Friendly!
Did you know that coffee might help to protect you from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s? If you drink 3-5 cups of coffee per day, you are actually 65% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease! We won’t bore you with the comparison statistics. You’re getting where we’re going with this.
Coffee Can Prevent Diabetes!
You might be surprised to know that Type 2 Diabetes actually affects more than 300,000,000 people. You might also be surprised to know that if you drink coffee, your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes can be lowered by as much as 67%!
Coffee Can Ease The Symptoms of Depression
Depression means a lot more than just feeling sad. It’s a debilitating mental disorder that can lead to suicidal feelings, and in fact, more people die of depression than you might think. You don’t usually see obituaries reading, “X died after a long battle with depression,” but it happens. And what it really means is “X took his/her own life.” People take their own lives because they just can’t handle day-to-day living any longer.
Does it sound disingenuous to suggest that coffee can help to combat such a debilitating mental disorder?
A Harvard study has shown that people who drink at least some coffee are 20% less likely to commit suicide due to depression. People who drink at least four cups of coffee are 53% less to be suicidal.
Put this in context – look at the benefits of coffee when it comes to other illnesses. Then consider it in the context of depression. For sure it looks as though the answer to the question “Does Coffee Age You” is a resounding “No.” Coffee might actually prevent you from dying prematurely by your own hand.
What About the Long Term?
Well, again, the research seems to suggest that coffee drinkers are better off than non-coffee drinkers. Over various studies, it seems that coffee drinkers are at a lower risk of dying early than those who don’t drink coffee.
The “sweet spot” appears to be about 4 cups per day.
Are There Any Negatives to Drinking Coffee?
As with all good things, there are downsides. If you drink too much coffee, you could end up with the jitters, anxiety, and even panic attacks. Coffee can also disrupt your sleep. It can raise your blood pressure. It can also be addictive – if you drink too much coffee, once you begin to abstain, you could end up feeling tired and irritable.
What About Decaf?
Well, you could drink decaffeinated coffee, but some people might suggest that it’s kind of like sex without foreplay – not all that satisfying.
Decaf is coffee with the caffeine removed. The caffeine is taken out of the coffee by means of chemical solvents. Once that’s done, you don’t get the “boost” that you get from regular coffee. Some consumers compare it to drinking brown water.
The other thing about decaf is that it will not have all the health benefits, in terms of antioxidants, that regular coffee will have.
Decaffeinated coffee is made by extracting caffeine from coffee beans using solvents. Now honestly, if you’re worried about what you put in your body, you might not want to drink anything that uses solvents to remove what occurs naturally. You also need to know that decaf coffee does not have all of the same health benefits as regular coffee.
I’ve Heard of Keto Coffee – What is That?
Whenever we’re dieting, a lot of our favorite consumables become verboten. This is also the case with coffee. You hear that regular coffee is bad for you, and you’re better off without the caffeine. Or you read from a supposedly knowledgeable source that you shouldn’t drink coffee that’s been treated with solvents. Or you should drink something else entirely. Then you hear about keto coffee, and you’re wondering “WTF is that????”
Keto coffee is actually a new staple in the diet of people who want to look after their health.
To understand keto coffee, you have to understand ketosis. It’s the state where your body begins to burn fat to help you lose weight so that you can drop pounds quickly. To make this happen, you have to get ketones into your body through foods or beverages – like keto coffee.
The whole idea here is that keto-rich foods and beverages help your body to hit the point of ketosis more quickly. Keto coffee contains a lot of medium-chain triglycerides – fatty acids that your liver doesn’t need to process before delivering them into you bloodstream. They just immediately get converted into ketones and used to supply energy to your body, making you feel full and preventing you from overeating.
Keep in mind, though, that if you consume too much keto coffee, it could have the opposite effect, making you want to eat more. Keto coffee should be consumed as a meal replacement, not as something you enjoy at the same time as your morning meal.
Keto coffee should also be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet. The whole idea here is to induce your body to produce ketones – not just to get them from an outside source like keto coffee. So, just adding keto coffee to your regular diet is not going to help you to lose weight – in fact, it might do just the opposite. You have to eat properly, and reduce your carbohydrate consumption.
The thing with keto coffee that you need to remember is that it actually contains fat. And the theory is that you need fat in order to burn fat. Proponents of the keto coffee diet suggest that you should drink the coffee black, and if you find you can’t tolerate the taste, at least go with skim milk.
Why would you want to drink a fatty beverage? The theory behind this is that you have to consume fat in order to burn fat. Sure, it sounds paradoxical, but it’s what it is. If you consume a proper keto diet, then the consumption of fat-rich coffee can actually help you. Keep in mind, though, that even if you consume a lot of keto coffee, it’s still going to take time for you to lose weight. It’s going to depend on your genetic makeup, your overall level of fitness, and also how closely you’re following your keto diet. If you’re following it closely, a number of nutritionists believe that it can do a lot of good for your body.
Of course it’s also worth mentioning that black coffee, with no sugar or milk or any other additives, will go a long way toward helping you drop pounds. Most anything will.
The Final Word
Can coffee age you? Well, if it’s the only thing that you consume, and you don’t look after your health in other ways, then it’s probably safe to say that drinking coffee and doing nothing else for your health is going to age you. It would be the same if all you consumed was broccoli, or oranges, or whole grain breads – these are all things that are very good for you, but only in the context of a balanced diet that include other things that are good for you.
Too much of anything is bad for you. If you drink coffee to the exclusion of water, for instance, you’re probably going to become dehydrated and wrinkle up. If you think that coffee is a meal, to be consumed to the exclusion of everything else, then you’re not going to get the nutrients you need, and your health is going to suffer.
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On the other hand, if you consider coffee to be a part of your daily regimen, something that you enjoy but don’t use as a substitute for other foods and beverages, then your coffee consumption is not likely going to hurt you. Considered as just one part of a balanced diet, it’s very unlikely that coffee is going to cause you any harm. In fact, it could do you a lot of good. It’s known that coffee is full of antioxidants that are very good for you, so why wouldn’t you want to drink coffee in combination with other beneficial foods and beverages?
A wise person (it might have been our Mom!) once said that you should approach all things in moderation. So can coffee age you? Yes, if it’s the only thing you consume, or if you consume it only along with trash foods. A healthy, balanced diet is always best, and coffee can definitely be a part of a balanced diet.
Again, can coffee age you? Yes, if you let it – if you consume it to the exclusion of other beneficial beverages and foods. But it’s not the culprit here. Anything, used to excess and without balance, can age you. So consider coffee as just one component in your daily diet. Enjoy it, but don’t use it to the exclusion of everything else. Cup up, now, and enjoy!