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?