Coffee and Your Health – Does Coffee Affect Your Heart?

Too much coffee can give some people heart-palpitations. I know that when I have too much caffeine (and not enough food and water along with it) I get increased anxiety. It’s a stimulant, so that makes sense. There has, in the past, been information spread about coffee and its links to heart attacks and other forms of bad heart health. While, yes, it can overwork your heart if you’re sensitive to it, living with anxiety, ingesting other stimulants at the same time (I’m also on ADHD medication), or not properly hydrating and nourishing your body; coffee can actually have several positive effects on your heart.

Even people with a susceptibility to heart disease are probably actually safe with a moderate regular coffee intake. In some cases, too, it isn’t just that there are a lack of negative effects, it’s that there are possible benefits.

One study last year showed that 3-5 mugs of brew each day correlated with increased longevity; this means that people who drank that much coffee each day seemed to die less often at an early age (for any reason, i.e. heart attack, cancer, etc). Those studies were particularly less susceptible to heart issues, heart disease and stroke to be specific. They were less likely to die from heart issues than those who drank less coffee or none at all. Drinking more than that recommended amount didn’t seem to increase the odds, or elongate the lives in a correlated way; so don’t go thinking you can drink 20 cups of coffee a day and live to be 1,000 or something.

Other studies have shown that cardiovascular disease was notably less likely to develop in patients who drank this moderate amount of coffee regularly than it was in those who drank little coffee or none at all. Most studies agree that 3-5 cups of coffee is the best amount with the greatest benefits to your heart health.

Heart failure appeared to be less likely, according to another study, in those participants who drank four cups of coffee every day, versus those who drank less.

This is because coffee is more than caffeine. What! I know, mind-blowing. Coffee is made of hundreds of compounds that can minimize inflammation, which is a big factor in heart issues. Inflammation has been linked to heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions that can be lethal. Of course, you are the only one who knows your body best, so if you feel like the caffeine isn’t working for you, whether for your anxiety (which is associated with accelerated heart-rate in most people) or other health reasons, don’t just continue to drink coffee because you think it’ll help you live longer or prevent that hereditary heart disease your parents passed along to you. Be smart about it.

Caffeine seems to have an exacerbating effect on blood pressure when someone is not used to drinking it regularly. Caffeine works by stimulating the cardiovascular system. If you have high blood pressure, or are at risk of it, monitor yourself and your coffee intake and consult a medical professional. Even a moderate amount of coffee in patients with high cholesterol has been shown to increase the chances of heart failure or stroke. Your body generally will develop a tolerance to caffeine. Coffee has not been linked with developing high blood pressure. And someone with high blood pressure who drank coffee over a long period of time did not seem more likely to develop heart disease because of their coffee consumption.

There has also been no definitive link shown between coffee intake and irregular heartbeats. Some doctors will recommend that someone with an arrhythmia limit their caffeine intake; but, it’s generally going to be based on the individual.

It’s individualized, the effect caffeine has on you and your heart, because genes probably contribute to the way our bodies metabolize caffeine; people whose bodies break down caffeine more slowly have been shown to have higher risks of heart attacks.

Like I said before, it’s about paying attention to your body. If you feel like coffee or caffeine increases your stress level, be mindful that elevated stress levels can contribute to heart issues. Of course, you have to weigh the pros and cons: if the productivity or high you get from caffeine outweighs the stress it may cause or worsen, and the potential for stress-related cardiovascular issues, then go for it. You’ve been fairly warned; and, as the evidence is showing, you’ll probably be okay. It’s generally agreed that there are a small number of people with pre-existing high blood pressure who should avoid caffeine; it’s not all of them, and it’s not even most of them.

One way to make sure you’re on the right track with your caffeine intake is by checking your blood pressure before and after you have a cup of coffee; maybe experiment with cutting back on coffee and seeing if that has any significant effect on your blood pressure. Then talk to your doctor.

A lot of your heart health is going to depend on other factors, like your exercise routine and diet, alcohol consumption, and weight identity.

All of this advice is specifically about coffee. Caffeinated beverages that aren’t coffee (with the exception of natural teas) contain many other ingredients that can have a varying number of effects on the heart and other types of health.

Coffee also contains many naturally occurring antioxidants that have a number of benefits to the body and its health. Antioxidants are contributors to preventing and minimizing the effects of cancer. I’m not saying that coffee can cure cancer; but, taking in antioxidants is generally great for your immune system and your body’s ability to fight disease.

Also, the best results when it comes to coffee and your health is to drink black coffee. When you add in your additives, it skews the results. Sugar has its own slew of negative effects; sugar and milk can contribute to obesity and diabetes, which can exacerbate or contribute to heart issues. Sugar can also have negative effects on your immune system. If you can take it black, do it. This is also most beneficial to your digestive system (remember, weight-loss can have positive effects on heart and other health).

So, in summation, it depends on who you are and what genes your parents were nice enough (or not) to give you; but, in general, a moderate amount of coffee can have great effects on your heart health.

As if we needed another reason to be in love with coffee. Am I right?

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24 Comments

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  1. Very helpful article! I have always wondered about the benefits of coffee for our hearts and after reading this article, I decided to drink no less than 3 cups of coffee each day. Not only for its benefits but also because coffee has become an essential part of my day.

  2. I love coffee! But this article is giving me a whole different perspective on it! I used to drink a lot of coffee because it helped me when I was at work, it helped me focus, I have ADHD as well and yes it did make me hyper but it did help because I was getting tired during work. I try to drink it as needed. But this article is so informative! This really helps out a whole lot!

  3. I agree with the point that you have to calculate the overall effect of coffee and if the overall result is positive, you’re good to go. Personally for me, I like my coffee black and with minimum sugar and it helps me get energized enough to seize the day. As far as heart-palpitations are concerned, I think it’s the overall lifestyle and genes that contribute to it and blaming just caffeine is wrong. I limit my coffee intake to 2 mugs a day and it works well for me. By the way, I wrote this comment while sipping my cup of evening coffee and it tastes good!

  4. Yes, coffee is good for our health. I have also read that it can also help you burn fat according to some studies, by boosting the metabolic rate by 3 to 11%. Coffee can also lower the risk of Type II diabetes, protect you from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. These are based on some studies that I have read when I was researching about coffee. There are many more benefits that you can get from drinking coffee. As a coffee lover, drinking coffee every day is almost a routine for me but I still make sure that I drink in moderation.

  5. When you think about it, it makes sense that drinking your coffee black would be the healthiest overall choice. But when it comes down to it, how many people really will be able to do that? I know I couldn’t down a cup of coffee without a pound of sugar and some milk. I was amazed by all the health-benefits natural coffee has for you, I did not realize that.

    • I agree, I know that personally, I have to have tons of milk and sugar, then again, drinking coffee was always to “wake me up” unless drinking it for the taste. Now that I’m seeing that there are health benefits to drinking it black, I think I’ll try to grow a taste for drinking it black or at least cut back on the amount of sugar I put in it. Also, I think drinking it with whole milk or half and half could benefit your health more than 2 and 1 percent and skim milk. There are natural sugars that are less refined and processed which could be better for overall health for the people who just can’t drink it black.

        • I’ve been health-oriented since I was young. My parents and grandparents where always going out of their way to find the REAL natural and healthy alternatives to most food products. I still remember when we first moved to Missouri and how right away, we began visiting and purchasing milk from the local Amish communities and it seemed like a very big change at first. Now that I’m a little older and have begun a small family of my own, paying attention to the physical and mental health of my wife and children feels very important to me.

  6. This article is highly informative and updated! As a medical student, I should have known all of this information, but I didn’t know half of the mentioned information here! I have a friend who drinks up to 10 cups every day. I will share this article with here so she can know the cost and benefits of this.

    Many thanks 🙂

  7. That feeling when you read that one of your favorite things is good for your health too. I always thought that consuming more than 3 cups is bad, but now I can increase my daily coffee intake. Yay!

    • Reading articles from this blog has given me information that I haven’t known before. Some people are telling me that drinking more than a cup of coffee is bad for my health. Maybe it’s time for me to share this article with them.

  8. This article reminded me of that time where we tried this really strong “barako” coffee for the first time. Me and my wife had a very strong reaction to the coffee. For me, it felt like I had absolutely too much energy, like a kid high on sugar. I simply couldn’t keep still. My wife had the worst reaction. She didn’t get too much “energy” but instead ended up unable to keep herself steady. Her heart was pounding, and she definitely felt sick and unable to work. She swore off that kind of coffee that day. On the other hand, I discovered a type of coffee that will give me a massive boost when in a pinch.

    Lesson: it is highly likely that people will have varied reactions to coffee. While it may be bad for one person, it can be great for another person. You really can’t tell until you try, and you really can’t generalize it’s effect on people.

    Thank you for the article. It helped me understand that experience even more.

  9. Guys, I want to share this with you. This morning I woke up with a migraine and I remembered that I have read that coffee is good for headaches or migraines. So what I did, I tried drinking a cup of coffee with my meal. Maybe after 15 to 30 minutes, my migraine was gone! Usually, since I was in high school, I take medications for these headaches to go away. But now, I’m so happy that coffee is really effective for me in treating headaches. Caffeine would help your dilated vessels to constrict. Interesting, isn’t it?

    • Migranes can be caused by lack of oxygen to a given part of the brain. Coffee really helps you by opening your blood vessels more, allowing you to be more active, at the same time, opening up your brain to more blood flow which leads to more oxygen. Indirectly, your coffee helped you with the type of migrane that you got, but keep in mind that not all forms of migrane are as simple.

      Still, thanks so much for sharing with us your experience with how coffee positively affected your health!

      • Hi, John! The real cause of a migraine is unknown but usually, it comes with your family genes or other predisposing factors. On the other hand, lack of oxygen is somewhat a more serious case (not a migraine) which can lead to brain damage, because our brain needs a continuous supply of oxygen. As a person with a migraine, I’ve learned that your blood vessel is dilating when this happens. To help your blood vessels to stop from dilating (vasodilation), you need to find ways to help it to constrict (vasoconstriction). Taking a bath with cold water and turning on your AC are some of the examples that can cause blood constriction which may help a lot with migraines. Caffeine is known to cause constriction to vessels, that’s why it can help, too. I hope this can help. =)

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