Sipping on tea or coffee once you hit middle age might give you a leg up in dodging frailty as you get older, according to a recent study led by scientists from the National University of Singapore.
“Coffee and tea are mainstay beverages in many societies around the world. Our studies show that consumption of these caffeinated drinks at midlife may be associated with a reduced likelihood of physical frailty in late life,” said Professor Koh Woon Puay of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
“However, further studies are still needed to confirm these longitudinal associations and to investigate if these effects on physical frailty are mediated by caffeine or other chemical compounds.”
The research analyzed data from more than 12,000 individuals aged 45 to 74 over a 20-year period. The team ultimately found caffeine to be the magic ingredient that could offer these possible perks.
People who drank four cups of coffee each day reaped the most notable rewards, but habitual black and green tea drinkers weren’t left out– also enjoying some benefits.
The researchers conducted a first round of interviews when the participants were, on average, 53 years old. During these interviews, participants were asked about their consumption of beverages rich in caffeine, including coffee, tea, and sodas, and even certain foods, such as chocolate.
Then, about two decades later, the individuals were interviewed again, this time focusing on things like their weight and energy levels. They also participated in evaluations that gauged handgrip strength and assessed how long it took them to finish a timed up-and-go (TUG) test.
The study defined frailty through a mix of factors, including weight reduction, fatigue, physical weakness, and slowness.
Among the participants, coffee was the big player, making up 84% of overall caffeine intake, while tea contributed 12%. A hefty 68.5% of the participants were daily coffee drinkers, with most settling for a single cup per day.