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Is coffee good for the heart?

Many of us love to start our day with a coffee, with the popular caffeine hit perking us up and kick-starting our mornings. We’re all familiar with some of the benefits of coffee, such as increased alertness and reaction time, along with some of the side effects, like increased heart rate, insomnia, jitters or anxiety and acidic stomach. But what kinds of longer-term benefits can we get from our morning jumpstart?

There’s a lot of information out there that argues the positives and negatives of drinking coffee. With so much conflicting data, it’s easy to feel confused and unsure about what’s best for you and your health – and your heart health is definitely something to take seriously.

While many previous scientific studies advised against drinking coffee to maintain better heart health, more recent long term studies conducted in 2017 and 2019 have shown the opposite. Coffee contains a number of chemical compounds aside from caffeine, including polyphenols and diterpenes, both of which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Drinking coffee regularly (including decaf) has been linked to a number of health benefits, including:

– Reduced risk of heart failure, disease and cardiovascular stroke
– Lower risk of certain types of cancer (including colorectal, liver and pancreatic)
– Lower risk of liver diseases
– Decreased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

The anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee help keep blood vessels healthy and lower inflammation throughout the body, both of which are linked to improved cardiovascular health. Caffeine, thanks to its pick-me-up properties, can help promote better brain health and activity into later life, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and memory-related diseases as the caffeine provides a boost of blood to the brain and keeps the circulatory system working well – benefitting the heart and brain in one hit.

When it comes to looking after your heart, old thoughts around coffee making people more prone to arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, have been disproven. You can safely consume up to 6 cups of coffee a day (provided the rest of your lifestyle is balanced and healthy) without causing any adverse effects on your heart, and even providing some excellent benefits to you.