heart health

Coffee and Heart Health: Yay or Nay?

Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee in the morning, am I right?

If you’re like me, and coffee is a regular part of your morning routine, you’re certainly not alone.  Second only to water, coffee is the most readily consumed beverage in the United States.  Approximately 86% of Americans are drinking their coffee on a daily basis.  If you’ve ever wondered if coffee fits into a healthy diet, read on!

Coffee and Heart Health

Coffee contains antioxidants, a substance found in foods like dark chocolate, red wine, fruits and veggies which have been shown to prevent cell damage.  Antioxidant rich foods have been shown to offer protection against heart disease.  In addition, the caffeine itself causes blood vessels to dilate, which can actually lower blood pressure. A very large study involving well over 40,000 people showed that regular coffee drinkers (who also had congestive heart failure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, etc,) experienced either neutral or beneficial health effects when compared to non-coffee drinkers. [1]

And all the coffee lovers everywhere said, HOORAY!  But before you decide to go off and drink as much coffee as you possibly can, keep in mind that more is not always better.  As is true for most things in life, too much of a good thing is…well…no longer a good thing.  Studies have shown a U shaped curve when it comes to coffee consumption.  That is, coffee drinkers have health benefits compared to non-coffee drinkers.  But excessive coffee drinkers (e.g., those drinking greater than 6 cups of coffee/day) no longer experience the proposed health benefits.   Most health experts recommend keeping coffee consumption somewhere between 3-4 cups/day at the most.

Enjoy your coffee.  Just in moderation.

Conclusion & Recommendations:

  1. If you don’t drink coffee, then there’s probably no reason to start. You may be more sensitive to the caffeine than someone who regularly drinks caffeine containing products, thereby stimulating the nervous system.  This can actually cause an increase in blood pressure.
  2. If you do drink coffee, enjoy 3-4 cups/day at the most. More is not always better.
  3. Drink filtered coffee versus boiled coffee (as in French presses.) Filtering coffee actually gets rids of certain compounds which have been shown to raise cholesterol.[2]
  4. Be mindful in what you add to your coffee. Try giving 2% or even soy milk a try in your coffee instead of cream and sugar.  You may be surprised.

 

References:

[1] Chrysant S.  Coffee Consumption and Cardiovascular Health.  The American Journal of Cardiology.  2015;116:818-821. http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.neu.edu/10.1016/j.amjcard.2015.05.057.

[2] O’Keefe J.  Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Cardiometabolic Disease, Cardiovascular Health, and All-Cause Mortality.  Journal of the American College of Cardiology.  2014;63(6):606-607.  http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.neu.edu/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.06.035.

1 thought on “Coffee and Heart Health: Yay or Nay?”

  1. Good points. I also saw a few studies concluding that brewed non-boiled coffee is better (Greek or Italian style). The paper filters compounds that promote cholesterol (amongst others )

    Like

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