Studies have shown that coffee may have several health benefits, including protection against diabetes and Parkinsons disease. If your older family member enjoys a cup of coffee in the morning, theres more good news. A new study indicates drinking coffee could also prevent gallstones, an extremely painful condition.

What Are Gallstones?

Gallstones form in the gallbladder, a small organ that is shaped like a pear and located in the right side of the abdomen. Gallstones are bits of hardened digestive fluids. They can be as tiny as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball. Some people get just one gallstone while others develop several.

Gallstones sometimes dont cause any symptoms, but when they do, they can be very painful and require surgery to remove. Some of the symptoms of gallstones are:

  • Sudden pain that strikes the upper right side of the abdomen. It gets worse quickly. Pain may also occur in the center of the abdomen.
  • Pain in the back between the shoulder blades.
  • Right shoulder pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

Doctors dont know exactly what causes people to develop gallstones. Some think they form when bile, which is stored in the gallbladder, has too much cholesterol in it. Others think it might be too much bilirubin, a substance produced by the break down of red blood cells. Or, it could be that the gallbladder doesnt empty the way it should, causing bile to become concentrated.

What Does the Study About Coffee and Gallstones Say?

Researchers from the Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark tracked 105,000 people for an average span of eight years. Many of the participants reported drinking six cups of coffee per day. The researchers found that those who drank six or more cups per day had a 23 percent lower chance of developing gallstones.

Six cups of coffee is a lot. Most people in the United States dont drink that much. So, if your elderly relative drinks just one or two cups per day, do they get any protection from gallstones? The good news is that they do. A cup per day lowers the risk by 3 percent. Drinking three to six cups per day lowers the risk by 17 percent.

Drinking coffee isnt the only way to reduce the risk for gallstones. Senior care providers can assist older adults to take other steps recommended by the Mayo Clinic. For example, skipping meals can increase the risk of developing gallstones. A senior care provider can make meals for the older adult to be frozen and warmed up later, so they always have something on hand to eat. Since increasing fiber may also prevent gallstones, the senior care provider can make certain meals and snacks contain more fiber.


If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Maple Grove, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.