Coffee and Heart Health
Coffee and Heart Health
Let’s be honest, coffee is a drug. In small doses, it is found in many food items like tea, soft drinks, and even chocolate. You may eat this stuff every day.
So what does this have to do with heart health? New studies show that coffee might be linked to reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.
Here is an in-depth guide on coffee and its relation to heart health.
Is Coffee Bad for the Heart or Not?
If you think about it, coffee is a stimulant in liquid form. Coffee junkies. Coffee addicts. Or Coffeeholics. These are just some of the terms to describe people who love their bean juice so much they have more coffee in their veins than actual blood.
This was back then when coffee became so popular and coffee shops started popping up in every city. Suddenly, people were drinking espresso coffee in tiny cups. Decaf came in cans from the grocery store. Everyone started to drink it. Even now, coffee shops are still popular.
But that is not the only thing why people drink coffee. They drink coffee for the buzz. For the rocket fuel, they need to work. All those late nights working increased productivity. Companies and upper-level management loved it so much. They added coffee makers in the employee lounge so anyone in the office can make their coffee.
What started as a trend, ended up becoming a large part of American culture.
And the curiosity came, ‘Is coffee bad for the heart or not?’
Studies in the early 2000s say that coffee causes cancer and should be avoided; that they are one of the main causes of heart attacks, increased blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
However, as later studies show, daily consumption of coffee is not bad for you. Research even suggests you should drink a cup of coffee every day.
Can I Drink Coffee and Have a Healthy Heart?
Coffee is a good source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps protect cells from damage. It helps boost your metabolism. It can also boost physical performance.
For healthy people, it’s normally safe to drink coffee as long as it is within moderate amounts. The suggested intake is 1-2 cups of coffee a day. But it also depends on what kind of coffee and how they are prepared. Either way, studies found that daily consumption of coffee is strongly associated with several positive health benefits.
Of course, this does not mean coffee is a panacea for heart disease. Far from it. There are several other factors as well. You should also take into consideration your lifestyle habits and daily diet.
How Does Caffeine Affect Your Body, Especially Your Heart?
Just about every American drinks coffee. That is like 90% of the population. There are several types of coffee and ways to prepare them. They can be roasted, filtered, brewed, and grounded into fine powder.
When you drink coffee, a lot of physiological changes affect the body. It normally takes 15 minutes for the caffeine to kick in.
But basically, caffeine enters the bloodstream and stimulates the central nervous system. Blood flow increases and so does your heart rate. You become more alert and less tired. Your adrenaline starts kicking in and you gain that boost of energy you need for the day.
There are also some down effects if you take too much caffeine such as getting the jitterbugs, increased heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety as well as constantly peeing.
A moderate intake of coffee is recommended to avoid the negative effects of coffee.
What About Pure and Highly Concentrated Caffeine Products?
As it turns out, products labeled as ‘pure caffeine’ are prohibited from the retail market. But they can be found in online shops. They usually come in powder form. It can be difficult to measure exactly how much should be taken. One small teaspoon could be equal to 25-50 cups of coffee. Over-consuming caffeine is dangerous for your central nervous system.
A better solution would be to avoid these kinds of products. You can also contact the company and inquire if they are following the proper FDA guideline for that product.
Coffee and Heart Disease
A few years ago, some studies said coffee could cause heart disease and should be avoided. This caused outrage and some panic. Coffee has long been a major part of every Americans’ daily morning routine.
Past studies proclaimed coffee increased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, the risk of heart attacks, and irregular heart rhythms.
However new, recent studies say the opposite. It was observed that previous studies did not take into account other factors such as smoking or exercise. They were considered incomplete and therefore, invalid.
New studies indicate that coffee could be beneficial towards reducing heart disease, especially among the elderly.
Coffee and Blood Pressure
Because coffee is a heart stimulant, an increase in blood pressure is one of the common side effects. This is due to a potent cholesterol elevating compound which is called “cafestol.”
Cafestol is mainly found in unfiltered coffee brews, such as the French press, expressos, and Greek coffees. It is better to drink filtered coffee since it contains little to no amount of cafestol.
However, it is still safe to drink unfiltered coffee brews since the amount of cafestol in a regular cup is not enough to be the main cause of elevated blood pressure.
Coffee and Arrhythmias
Past studies state that coffee is one of the causes of arrhythmias that caused widespread panic and disbelief. And yes, some people do experience rapid palpitations of the heart but this is only a normal effect when drinking coffee.
Coffee is a heart stimulant drug. It is safe to drink it as long as you stay within the average dosage. But certain people are caffeine sensitive. Drinking a few cups of coffee may trigger heart palpitations and even cause low-level anxiety. So it makes sense for people to connect coffee with arrhythmias.
However, population-based studies determine that is not the case. Researchers have found that a consistent intake of caffeine results in a decrease in arrhythmias.
Coffee and Stroke
On a global scale, stroke is the second-highest leading cause of death above 60 years old. In many developed and developing countries, the risk of people dying from stroke is increasing.
However, one prospective research -that included 26, 556 Finnish men- had been done. The result is a significantly reduced risk of non-hemorrhagic stroke by 12%. Aside from other different factors such as age, salary, and smoking habits, what they all had in common was their daily consumption of caffeine.
In the end, the researchers concluded that coffee does not cause stroke or increases the risk of stroke. This is good news as the majority of Americans drink coffee every day.
Coffee and Coronary Artery Disease
Studies have observed that long-time coffee drinkers have a lower risk level of acquiring coronary artery disease. However, this observation is still under study since researchers are still looking for the direct link between coffee and coronary artery disease.
That is to say, results are conflicting because of the way the studies were done and dietary factors were not taken into consideration.
For example, drinking black coffee has a more positive impact on your health than drinking coffee with milk and cream in it. But you also need to keep in mind your lifestyle choices. If your work requires you to sit at a desk all day, then drinking black coffee might be a healthier option than drinking frappuccinos from Starbucks.
Coffee and Heart Failure
Heart failure is medically described as congestive heart failure. It occurs when there is insufficient blood pumping through the heart. There are several risk factors involved such as family history, high blood pressure, and low to no physical activities.
Cases, where people die of heart failure due to drinking coffee, are rare. An average cup of coffee has around 95mg of caffeine which is normally harmless to a healthy person. However, the elderly and those at risk for coronary heart disease should take precautions on drinking strong coffees.
Having an active lifestyle, balanced diet and 1-2 cups of coffee daily may help reduce the risk of heart failure.
What Are the Other Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee?
Research suggests coffee is made up of thousands of compounds. These compounds provide the body with plenty of positive health benefits as well as the prevention of several diseases.
You Could Live Longer
There is no substantial evidence that drinking coffee can help you live longer. But research proves there is a strong relationship between living longer and drinking coffee. As we all know, coffee is composed of hundreds of compounds such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and diterpenes. They all provide health benefits to your body.
That is to say, you will not become immortal if you drink coffee but it does reduce your chances of getting life-threatening diseases such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Although there is no conclusive evidence between the link between coffee and having a long life, people who drink coffee daily were shown to have a longer lifespan.
Your Body May Process Glucose (or sugar) Better
Many studies suggest coffee can lower the risk of diabetes type 2. Caffeine has an impact on insulin. You see, caffeine does all sorts of things in your body. It stimulates the release of adrenaline which tells the liver to release glucose. This is where you get your fuel after drinking coffee. And it also stimulates your metabolism.
This does not work on people who already have diabetes though, so they should keep in mind to lower their coffee intake and take in less sugar and cream with their coffee.
You are Less Likely to Develop Heart Failure
Coffee was once associated negatively with heart diseases, heart attacks or irregular heartbeats. But now, new studies show that drinking a cup of coffee helps prevent and reduce the risk of heart ailments.
Their findings showed daily coffee drinkers are even less likely to develop heart failure. Of course, you need to keep in mind that the darker the coffee, the healthier it is for you.
Adding sugar and cream would most likely diminish the positive health effects caffeine has on the body. But it does not necessarily make a large difference.
You are Less Likely to Develop Parkinson’s Disease
A study conducted in 1968 suggested that coffee drinkers were less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. And multiple studies have confirmed a connection between coffee and Parkinson’s disease.
As mentioned before, coffee is composed of hundreds of components. One of them is a fatty acid called Eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide or EHT. A published study offered compelling insights on the effect of EHT in models of Parkinson’s disease.
Later studies challenged the essay by experimenting with mice. The result was promising. Mice treated with both EHT and caffeine together were shown to have significant improvements.
Your Liver Will Thank You
Aside from the heart, the liver is also one of the most important organs in the body. Not only does it help digest your food, but it also stores energy in case of emergencies. Its most important role is to metabolize and filter substances such as alcohol, and drug medications from the blood.
Several research studies found that people who drink coffee daily end up with a decreased risk of liver diseases. The exact science on how coffee protects the liver is still uncertain. Strong clues point within the coffee’s active components.
Your DNA Will Be Stronger
In a study made in 1972, researchers found that caffeine affects broken DNA. It binds them. But when caffeine is present during the formation of DNA, it could break the chromosome that carries genetic information. This is why pregnant women are not recommended to drink coffee.
New research suggests, drinking coffee can reduce naturally occurring DNA breakage. What it means is that it protects the DNA from breaking.
Coffee is rich in bioactive compounds. These chemicals, especially chlorogenic acids, are known to have health-promoting characteristics, such as anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants.
Your Odds of Getting Colon Cancer Will Go Way Down
Colon cancer happens when an abnormal growth occurs in the lining of the body’s colon. It usually starts small and harmless. It grows bigger over time, eventually infecting other internal organs. Most Americans are not aware they have colon cancer until it is too late.
This is why it is important to go to the doctor for regular screening.
Studies show that daily coffee drinkers are associated with a low risk of life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
But of course, this is only a positive association and not a complete cure-all. It also depends on your family history, your general health, and your lifestyle choices.
You May Decrease Your Risk of Getting Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease affects approximately 44 million people around the world. It is the frequent cause of dementia and affects people over the age of 65.
Known as a neurodegenerative disease, people with Alzheimer’s find themselves in a downhill slide of cognitive senses. It’s heartbreaking to find a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s. Although there is no cure as of today, there are several treatments on how to help patients with Alzheimer’s.
However, studies found that daily coffee intake can reduce life-threatening diseases, including Alzheimer’s, especially those above age 65.
It turns out caffeine adds a layer of protection against Alzheimer’s disease by stimulating a part of the brain that prevents the symptoms from appearing as well as reduces the risk of having the disease.
What Does the Heart Foundation Recommend?
As always, it is better to keep everything you consume in moderation. Even water can kill you if you consume beyond what your body can handle. Consuming a moderate amount of coffee should be fine.
One important thing to keep in mind is to avoid consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine. Any amount more than 400 mg is considered unhealthy and your health should be monitored carefully for any negative side effects.
However, if you find yourself experiencing negative side effects from overconsumption of caffeine, then the best thing to do is head over to the nearest clinic. Have a doctor look you over. Treatments can vary from ingesting activated charcoal to being offered a laxative to flush out the caffeine from your system.
Another thing to keep in mind is, while caffeine does have several health benefits that can improve your physical health, it is certainly not a complete substitute for a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle. It is important to also have lots of exercise, good quality sleep and a well-balanced diet to achieve great health results.
In the end, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks. Some can live with it. Some can’t live without it. You can find it in all parts of the world. It can be delicious and addicting. But it can also be detrimental to your health if abused.
If you are a coffee lover like many people around the world, the recommended dosage is 1-2 cups a day. Any more than that, then you might experience negative side-effects which can hamper your daily activities - especially your heart.
Some people are sensitive to caffeine and experience slight headaches, anxiety, and dizziness after a few cups of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with this since some people have sensitive genes to caffeine. You can either switch to decaf or substitute another drink.
Whether you are young or old, it is important to take care of your body to live a longer, and fuller life.