Heart health benefits
Coffee is full of health benefits. According to the American College of Cardiology, drinking two to three cups of coffee per day is associated with maintaining a healthy heart.
“What they found is two to three cups of coffee a day either had a neutral effect – meaning it did not cause harm – or those people experienced a 10 to 20% improvement in cardiovascular health”
These cardiovascular improvements were associated with a lower risk for:
Developing coronary heart disease
Heart rhythm problems
Dying for any reason
If you’re a one-cup-a-day coffee drinker, there’s good news for you, too. The risk of dying of heart-related reasons and stroke is also lower in those who drink a cup a day.
Negative effects on the heart
Caffeine’s effect on overall health is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to coffee. Coffee’s caffeine content is high – about 100 mg per 8-ounce cup.
Caffeine increases heart rate and blood pressure, and too much of it can cause anxiety, insomnia, headaches, stomach irritation and an irregular heartbeat. It’s also addictive.
About 400 mg is the maximum amount of caffeine you should consume in one day, which equals about four cups of coffee.
Besides the caffeine content, many people don’t consume their coffee black, and it’s here where coffee can go from good for you to bad. Adding creamer and sugar can significantly increase the calorie, sugar and fat content. This can cause weight gain, diabetes and increased blood sugar levels, which can lead to heart disease and other health problems.
Finally, while filtered coffee can have a positive effect on the heart, unfiltered coffee – like French press – significantly raises the risk for cardiovascular disease.
British Heart Foundation, dietitian Victoria Taylor says:
While there is often concern about the links between caffeine and heart health, a moderate amount of tea or coffee (four or five cups a day) should be fine for most people. Research shows that this level of caffeine intake shouldn’t be detrimental to your heart health, affect your cholesterol levels or heart rhythm.
Although drinking coffee has been shown to increase blood pressure, this effect is usually temporary and is minimized over time if you drink caffeinated drinks regularly. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine and can experience palpitations. If this is you, then it’s sensible to avoid caffeine. Remember that caffeine is found in quite a few sources including: tea, green tea, coffee, energy drinks, cola and chocolate.
American College of Cardiology,
Drinking coffee—particularly two to three cups a day—is not only associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms but also with living longer, according to studies being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st Annual Scientific Session. These trends held true for both people with and without cardiovascular disease. Researchers said the analyses—the largest to look at coffee’s potential role in heart disease and death—provide reassurance that coffee isn’t tied to new or worsening heart disease and may actually be heart protective.
“Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” said Peter M. Kistler, MD, professor and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and the study’s senior author. “We found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect—meaning that it did no harm—or was associated with benefits to heart health.”
For the first study, researchers examined data from 382,535 individuals without known heart disease to see whether coffee drinking played a role in the development of heart disease or stroke during the 10 years of follow up. Participants’ average age was 57 years and half were women. In general, having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with the greatest benefit, translating to a 10%-15% lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason. The risk of stroke or heart-related death was lowest among people who drank one cup of coffee a day. Researchers did observe a U-shaped relationship with coffee intake and new heart rhythm problems. The maximum benefit was seen among people drinking two to three cups of coffee a day with less benefit seen among those drinking more or less.
The second study included 34,279 individuals who had some form of cardiovascular disease at baseline. Coffee intake at two to three cups a day was associated with lower odds of dying compared with having no coffee. Importantly, consuming any amount of coffee was not associated with a higher risk of heart rhythm problems, including atrial fibrillation (AFib) or atrial flutter, which Kistler said is often what clinicians are concerned about. Of the 24,111 people included in the analysis who had an arrhythmia at baseline, drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death. For example, people with AFib who drank one cup of coffee a day were nearly 20% less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers.
As a conclusion:
If you’re already a healthy person who drinks coffee and feels well, there is no reason to make any changes. Similarly, if you’re a healthy person who doesn’t drink coffee, there’s no reason to pick up the habit now.
Coffee isn’t a quick solution for or surefire way to avoid developing heart problems.
“First thing, don’t start drinking coffee if you’re not a coffee person, If coffee gives you anxiety or heart palpitations, causes you to sweat a lot or keeps you from sleeping, don’t drink it just because it will decrease your heart attack risk.”
If you’ve been experiencing heart palpitations or a racing heart, consult your health care provider.
Finally, drinking coffee alone is not good enough to sustain heart health. You must also pair your coffee consumption with an active lifestyle and a well-balanced diet rich in heart-healthy foods, such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, avocados, lean chicken, fish and even dark chocolate.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information on the topic.
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