3 coffees a day is good for your heart health – here’s why

Woman drinking her cup of coffee while reading on her tablet

Coffee is no longer a want — but an absolute need for good health – especially heart health.

Have you ever felt guilty for drinking too much coffee?

I know I have.

The price of coffee has increased exponentially here in Sydney. 

And for those (like me!) who drink almond milk and need another shot (because one is not enough), the price can get pretty steep!

Today, I deep-cleaned my Nespresso machine (I know, but I can get desperate for coffee sometimes!). 

So, I might increase its use to offset my daily coffee spending.

It has accumulated a lot lately!

No matter the price, I can’t get enough of the stuff! Are you feeling my passion for coffee right now?

Contrary to past beliefs that excessive coffee consumption could harm heart health, emerging research suggests that moderate coffee intake, particularly around three cups daily, could significantly benefit cardiovascular well-being.

Numerous studies have delved into the relationship between coffee consumption and cardiovascular health, with many revealing promising findings supporting that moderate coffee intake can benefit the heart.

One such study, published in the journal Circulation, found that moderate coffee consumption was associated with a lower risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and overall cardiovascular disease mortality.

“Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it may trigger or worsen specific heart issues. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But, our data suggest that daily coffee drinking should not be discouraged, instead included as part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease.

Peter M. Kistler, MD, the professor and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and barker Heart Institute in Melbourne.

This research was based on a large-scale study that followed over half a million people for ten years.

Researchers looked at various levels of coffee consumption, from one cup to more than six cups a day and what part the amount of coffee played in coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke.

Researchers also monitored total heart-related deaths from people with and without cardiovascular disease.

Patients were grouped in how much coffee they drank daily by completing a questionnaire.

The surprising result is that the researchers found no effect or, in many cases, reduced cardiovascular risk after controlling exercise, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, which more than likely has a crucial role in heart health and longevity.

A second study was formulated of people without known heart disease to see if coffee did cause heart disease or stroke during a ten year follow-up.

The average age of these participants was 57, and half were women.

The results indicated that having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10–15% lowered risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure and heart rhythm problems — or dying.

The maximum benefit was for those who drank two to three cups of coffee, with less help for those drinking more or less.

A strong cup of coffee in a gorgeous mug
A strong cup of coffee in a gorgeous mug

Here are four other healthy benefits of coffee that you should know about

One: Improved Blood Pressure Control

Several studies have shed light on the mechanisms underlying coffee’s ability to help keep blood pressure under control.

One key factor is caffeine, the primary psychoactive compound in coffee.

Caffeine works by blocking the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and dilation of blood vessels. By antagonizing adenosine receptors, caffeine leads to vasoconstriction, or the narrowing of blood vessels, which can temporarily elevate blood pressure.

However, this effect appears transient and may contribute to the body’s adaptation to caffeine.

Moreover, coffee contains a variety of bioactive compounds, including chlorogenic acids and polyphenols, which have been shown to have vasodilatory properties.

These compounds can help counterbalance the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine by promoting the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels, thereby mitigating any potential increases in blood pressure.

Additionally, research suggests that regular coffee consumption may improve endothelial function and the ability of blood vessels to dilate in response to increased blood flow, which can contribute to better blood pressure regulation.

The combination of caffeine and bioactive compounds in coffee appears to create a complex interplay that helps maintain blood pressure within a healthy range.

Two: Enhanced Antioxidant Protection

Coffee contains bioactive compounds such as chlorogenic acids, polyphenols, and caffeine. These compounds possess potent antioxidant properties, meaning they can neutralize harmful free radicals in the body and reduce oxidative stress, a key contributor to various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular conditions. Numerous studies have demonstrated the antioxidant capacity of coffee and its potential benefits for overall health.

One study published in the journal Antioxidants investigated the antioxidant activity of different coffee varieties. It found that roasted coffee beans contain significant antioxidants, particularly chlorogenic acids, contributing to their ability to scavenge free radicals.

Another study published in Food Chemistry highlighted the role of coffee polyphenols in protecting against oxidative damage to cells and tissues.

Additionally, research published in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that coffee consumption is inversely associated with oxidative stress markers and inflammation in the body. These findings suggest that regular coffee intake can bolster antioxidant defences, reducing the risk of oxidative damage and promoting overall health and well-being.

Young woman enjoying her cup of daily coffee for better health
Young woman enjoying her cup of daily coffee for better health

Three: Enhanced Metabolic Function

Caffeine can enhance metabolic function, offering potential benefits for managing weight and reducing the risk of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.

One significant component contributing to these effects is coffee’s primary psychoactive compound.

Caffeine has been shown to stimulate the central nervous system, increase metabolic rate, and promote thermogenesis, the process by which the body generates heat and burns calories. Studies have demonstrated that caffeine can enhance fat oxidation, or the breakdown of stored fat for energy, aiding in weight management and improving metabolic health.

Furthermore, coffee contains bioactive compounds such as chlorogenic acids and polyphenols, which have been shown to exert anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, potentially contributing to improved metabolic function.

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that coffee consumption was inversely associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, with higher intake levels correlating with a lower risk.

Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that coffee consumption was associated with improved glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, crucial factors in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome. These findings suggest that when incorporated into a balanced diet and lifestyle, regular coffee consumption can support metabolic health and reduce the risk of metabolic disorders.

Barista coffee house with portability holders.
Barista coffee house with portability holders.

Four: Potential Anti-Arrhythmic Effects

Emerging research suggests that coffee consumption may offer potential anti-arrhythmic effects, helping to regulate the heart’s rhythm and reduce the risk of certain cardiac arrhythmias. One of the key components believed to contribute to these effects is caffeine, the primary stimulant found in coffee.

Caffeine has been shown to exert various effects on the cardiovascular system, including increasing heart rate and enhancing the release of neurotransmitters like adrenaline, which can influence the heart’s electrical activity.

While excessive caffeine intake may trigger palpitations in some individuals, moderate consumption appears to have a neutral or even protective effect against certain types of arrhythmias.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association investigated the association between coffee consumption and atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia.

The study found that moderate coffee consumption was not associated with an increased risk of AF and may be associated with a lower risk in women.

Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggested that habitual coffee consumption was inversely associated with the risk of ventricular arrhythmias, particularly in individuals without preexisting heart disease.

While further research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying coffee’s potential anti-arrhythmic effects fully, these findings suggest that moderate coffee consumption may be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Why are some people still worried about drinking too much coffee?

Despite the growing body of evidence supporting the heart-healthy benefits of moderate coffee consumption, concerns about its potential negative impact on heart health persist. Several factors contribute to these apprehensions, including:

Caffeine Sensitivity

Individuals who are particularly sensitive to caffeine may experience adverse effects such as palpitations, anxiety, or insomnia, even with moderate coffee intake. Such individuals must monitor their caffeine consumption and opt for decaffeinated alternatives if necessary.

Association with Unhealthy Habits

Coffee consumption is often intertwined with other lifestyle factors that may negatively affect heart health, such as smoking or consuming sugary, high-calorie coffee beverages. It’s crucial to consider the overall context of one’s dietary and lifestyle habits when assessing the impact of coffee on heart health.

Individual Variability

Not everyone responds to coffee in the same way. Genetic factors, underlying health conditions, and medication use can influence how individuals metabolize caffeine and its effects on cardiovascular function. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help individuals understand how coffee fits into their overall health picture.

Potential for Increased Cholesterol Levels

While moderate coffee consumption has not been definitively linked to adverse changes in cholesterol levels, some studies have suggested that certain compounds in unfiltered coffee, such as cafestol, may raise cholesterol levels in some individuals. However, filtered coffee, which removes these compounds, is unlikely to have the same effect.

Interactions with Medications

Coffee can interact with certain medications, including those prescribed for heart conditions. Individuals with heart issues need to consult their healthcare provider to determine whether coffee consumption is safe and appropriate, given their specific medical history and medication regimen.

Different coffee beans
Different coffee beans

Key take away

This body of research shows that drinking 2–3 cups of coffee with a healthy diet can benefit those with and without heart conditions.

While concerns about coffee’s potential impact on heart health persist, emerging research suggests that moderate consumption, typically around three cups per day, can benefit cardiovascular well-being.

From reducing the risk of heart disease to improving blood pressure control and providing antioxidant protection, coffee can be a heart-healthy beverage in moderation and as part of a balanced lifestyle.

However, individual variability, caffeine sensitivity, and other lifestyle factors should be considered when considering coffee’s role in heart health. As with any dietary choice, moderation and mindful consumption are key to reaping the potential benefits while minimizing potential risks.

Here’s more info about the research:

The study, “Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Arrhythmia, and Mortality: Findings from UK BioBank,” will be presented on Sunday, April.

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I appreciate your support.

Disclosure: AI technology assisted me with the construction of this informative post and all of the scientific research included.

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