“Ah, what a beautiful o’ cafe!” Sang De André. Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, second only to water in consumption. Both are adored and debated: over the years, several studies have tried to understand whether coffee is good or bad for the heart muscle. Many people think that coffee, because it contains caffeine, is bad for the heart. True or false? Let’s see what science says.
Coffee And Caffeine
When speaking of the components of coffee, only caffeine is highlighted, a nerve substance similar to theine in tea or taurine present in many energy drinks. However, the beloved black drink contains only caffeine but has over 1000 different chemicals that can benefit our body and heart.
The most used varieties are Arabica and Robusta; both are often present in coffee blends. In the medium roasted Robusta bean, caffeine is twice as high as in Arabica. Still, the concentration also varies according to the type of coffee: espresso, American, made with a mocha, Neapolitan or Turkish, i.e., unfiltered.
- A cup of espresso coffee provides, on average, 60-80 mg of caffeine, while an average cup (250 ml) of American coffee is about 100-150 mg, more or less the amount in a cup prepared with the classic mocha.
- The amount of caffeine in the drink also varies concerning the temperature at which the coffee is made and the method of execution: a long espresso has more caffeine than a ristretto.
- In coffee prepared with water to which ground coffee (Turkish) has been added, there is a greater quantity of caffeine, cafestol, and kahweol, two substances capable of increasing LDL cholesterol levels, the so-called “bad” one.
Is Coffee Good Or Bad For The Heart?
For some time, it has been thought that coffee produces harmful health effects, but several recent studies have acquired the black drink. While it is true that coffee can increase blood pressure and heart rate, it is also true that these effects are short-lived and are minimized over time by the beneficial effects of coffee. The latter can:
- Reduce blood pressure Regular coffee consumption can reduce blood pressure, even in those who already suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure). The effect appears to be due to the chlorogenic acid content in the coffee.
- Decrease the risk of heart failure. A study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Heart Failure in early 2021 showed that the more coffee you drink, the lower your risk of heart failure (heart malfunction). The trouble is reduced by 5% to 12% per cup of coffee per day; among those who drink two or more cups of coffee a day, the risk is reduced by 30%. However, these findings were not reproduced among consumers of decaffeinated coffee, which appears to increase the risk of heart failure.
However, Wait To Order Another Coffee!
The scientific evidence on these associations still needs to be sufficiently strong and proven, as the different preparation methods (e.g., espresso, americano, etc.) or the other qualities of coffee have not been considered. Although the authors attribute the beneficial effects of coffee to caffeine, it has yet to be proven whether these results are also reproduced for drinks containing caffeine, such as energy drinks or cola.
What Are The Beneficial Effects Of Coffee?
Coffee increases metabolism, reduces the risk of certain diseases, gives energy, and can help lose weight and improve mood and athletic ability.
- Regular coffee consumption increases memory and learning and is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
- Coffee is a major source of antioxidants in the daily diet, which reduces the risk of mortality, including that due to heart and nervous problems, especially in women. Antioxidants are mostly found in fruits and vegetables, but other foods, such as Grana Padano DOP, contain good antioxidants. This naturally lactose-free cheese is the richest in calcium among those commonly consumed; it also provides high biological value proteins (with nine essential amino acids), vitamins B2 and B12, and antioxidants such as Vitamin A, zinc, and selenium. Subscribe to the Anti-Aging Diet and receive four menus for free, one for each season, personalized for your daily calories, with many recipes rich in antioxidants and protective substances that help fight premature aging.
- Some studies have shown that regular coffee consumption reduces liver damage in people with fatty liver disease (fatty liver).
What Are The Negative Effects Of Coffee?
Despite its beneficial effects, excessive coffee consumption can be dangerous, as drinking too much coffee can cause an increase in heart rate and, for some people, feeling a rapid heartbeat (pounding heartbeat) sounds like a wake-up call. However, coffee does not appear to increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (a benign arrhythmia of the heart), but:
- Drinking too late in the day can cause sleep disturbances with an increased risk of cerebrovascular events (stroke, heart attack).
- Some people may metabolize caffeine more slowly, such as those taking certain medications, such as bronchodilators. This can put these people at greater risk of palpitations, insomnia, and nervousness.
Furthermore, numerous scientific types of research, including the studies recently published in “Stroke” and in “Clinical Nutrition,” have shown how excessive coffee consumption can increase the risk of cardiovascular events because it can increase the cholesterol content in the blood and, therefore, the risk of ischemic events.
How Much Coffee Can You Drink?
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends a daily caffeine intake between 200 and 400 mg from all food sources, which corresponds to a maximum of 5 cups of espresso per day, provided you do not consume other foods containing the substance.
- Some studies suggest that the greatest protection is achieved by consuming 3-5 cups of coffee daily.
- A lower risk of cardiovascular events was observed with 3 cups of coffee daily, as gastroenterologists recommend many.
It’s not just a matter of quantity! It’s not just about how much coffee you drink, but how you drink it! Sugar, milk, honey, creams, etc., add calories and fats, which can cause weight gain and cholesterol, thus nullifying all the beneficial effects of coffee.