Q: Boy, do I ever love my morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I have two! No decaf coffee for me! My son is a health nut who's constantly nagging me to quit drinking coffee.
I'm in pretty good health for 77, although it's difficult for me to get to the doctor anymore since I gave up driving because of eyesight problems. I guess I could check with my doctor when I can get there, but is coffee really that bad?
A: Here's a bit of good news to share with your son.
The caffeine in a cup of coffee appears to improve blood flow by helping small blood vessels work better, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.
There's been other research as well that links drinking coffee to lower risks of dying from heart disease and stroke, and that high doses of caffeine may improve the function of larger arteries. This study of 27 healthy adults showed - for the first time - that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee significantly improved blood flow in a finger, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body's smaller blood vessels work. Specifically, participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared with those who drank decaffeinated coffee.
"This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health," said Masato Tsutsui, M.D., Ph.D., lead researcher and a cardiologist and professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.
Although this study group consisted of younger adults, past research has linked coffee consumption to other health benefits for all ages.
Your doctor would be the final word, though, on whether caffeinated coffee should be for you. If you're having trouble getting to the doctor, contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office.
A Home Instead CAREGiver, who is screened, trained, bonded and insured, can help provide transportation to the doctor's. A CAREGiver also could assist with shopping and errands, as well as meal preparation and light housekeeping.
For more information about this study, visit newsroom.heart.org/news/coffee-may-help-perk-up-your-blood-vessels?preview=031e.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or visit www.homeinste ad.com. DeLauter is the owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lewisburg, which serves Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Clinton, Montour and Columbia counties.