If you’ve been thinking about cutting down on your morning coffees, think again. New research has found drinking up to six cups of coffee a day may be healthy for you.
The review of 11 major international studies involving 360,000 people found that six cups of coffee a day can be healthy for people with heart problems and who are at risk of cardiac arrest. However, the sweet spot is usually three.
The study found that caffeine has no effect on ventricular arrhythmias – rapid or abnormal heart beats that stem from the lower chambers of the heart.
While some arrhythmias are harmless and even go unnoticed, others can increase a person’s risk of cardiac arrest.
Lead author Professor Peter Kistler told the Herald Sun that, “Coffee certainly increases your resting heart rate, but it doesn’t cause an abnormal heartbeat.”
“There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common trigger for heart rhythm problems. Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”
A cup of coffee contains about 95mg of caffeine and is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system.
The findings show that it could actually reduce the frequency of irregular heartbeats.
According to the study, about 80 per cent of doctors will recommend people with palpitations to stop drinking coffee and about 25 per cent of people with palpitations attribute it to coffee.
“From a medical science perspective none of the studies have actually shown that,” Prof Kistler said. “In contrast, the most common arrhythmia actually seems to be reducing in regular coffee drinkers.
“If you look broadly, beyond heart rhythm problems, regular coffee drinkers are at lower risk of heart failure,” Prof Kistler added. “There is some evidence they may live longer and have better moods with lower rates of depression and stroke. Whichever way you look at it, coffee is a good thing.”
Up to six cups of coffee – 500mg of caffeine a day – didn’t increase the severity or rate of the condition.
“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have a long-term anti-rhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” Prof Kistler said.
“In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possible improved survival.”
Drinking more than six cups of coffee a day, however, can cause problems including an abnormally beating heart, according to the study.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) April 16, 2018
What about energy drinks?
Experts do warn against consuming energy drinks, which can contain more than 500 mg of concentrated caffeine. At least 75 per cent of people who drank energy drinks reported having heart palpitations within 24 hours. A previous study on sugary soft drinks has also shown that those who consume it regularly have a greater chance of developing a number of cancers.