Don’t you just love the smell of coffee in the morning? Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages all over the world because of its hard-hitting taste and enticing aroma. Many people drink it because of the potential benefits it has on your overall health.
Yet some people are skeptical of consuming coffee because they have experienced heart palpitations. Could it be true that coffee is actually harmful to your heart?
Actually, studies have revealed that coffee can be a protective factor in reducing cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, let's take a look at the benefits of coffee on your heart and disprove the belief of heart palpitations from coffee.
Coffee and Cardiovascular Diseases
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of mortality all over the world, with approximately 18 million reported deaths each year. In simple terms, cardiovascular diseases are a group of health conditions that hinder the normal function of your heart and blood vessel, which include coronary events (heart attacks), strokes, heart failure, and high blood pressure.
These can lead to a reduced quality of life and eventual death if not treated properly. For this reason, many investigations and studies were and are still conducted in relation to risk factors and preventive measures to decrease the probability of developing any heart issue.
Before, it was believed that drinking coffee increased the probability of suffering from a heart attack or worsening any heart condition. Because of this, coffee received a bad reputation from many health organizations.
However, recent investigations have shown promising evidence of the potential benefits of coffee in your overall health, including the heart. A study done in 2018 revealed that drinking one to four cups of coffee per day decreases the chances of cardiovascular diseases by 15%, showcasing the vitality of coffee.
Reduces Body Mass and Fat
Obesity and high blood lipid (fat) levels are co existing health conditions that are linked to a higher chance of cardiovascular diseases. Normally, your liver is responsible for using body fat as an energy source and stores the extra fat so it can be used later on. However, when the levels are too high and there is no more space to store it, the extra fat is transported to your blood vessels by low-lipid lipoproteins (known as bad cholesterol).
This leads to plaque formation and reduces blood flow to your heart and other organs. If the plaques continue to build up, the blood flow can diminish to a point that there is no supply of oxygen and nutrients to your heart and causes a heart attack or stroke.
Coffee (specifically caffeine and polyphenolic compounds) can stimulate your liver to use fatty acids to provide energy and synthesize high-lipid protein ("good" cholesterol") that transport fat back to your liver instead of your blood vessels.
This way, it interferes with plaque formation and protects your heart. Additionally, caffeine has thermogenic properties (increases body temperature), which help your body to burn more calories and reduce body weight.
Stabilizes Blood Sugar Levels
Type 2 diabetes is another chronic metabolic condition that is highly associated with cardiovascular risk. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adults that have diabetes are four times more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than someone who doesn't have diabetes.
Even more, 68% of diabetic people die because of a heart condition. This is because high blood sugar levels ause injury to your blood vessels and nerves that regulate your heart function. However, studies have indicated that coffee can stabilize your sugar levels and even reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
Coffee improves insulin sensitivity, which means that your cells are able to use sugar in a more efficient way and reduce the sugar concentrations in your blood. It is reported that coffee produces this as a long-term effect, making it ideal to keep your daily coffee consumption. Further investigations are needed to establish the exact mechanisms.
Have you ever heard of the term oxidative stress? Well, it is a rather complex chemical process that occurs in your body where it produces free radicals when it is exposed to stress, infections, toxins, and pollutants. These free radicals are actually harmful and cause damage to your cells and DNA.
The injuries are microscopic. but as time passes by, the damages accumulate and lead to premature aging, higher risk of cancer, and damages your heart and blood vessels.
Nonetheless, antioxidants are compounds that are able to counteract these effects and help reduce and repair these injuries more efficiently. Coffee is a great source of antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid, ferulate, and polyphenols, that help protect and strengthen your heart against free radicals caused by oxidative stress.
Are Heart Palpitations a Myth?
There was a common belief that coffee could potentially cause heart palpitations or out-of-sync heartbeats known as arrhythmias. However, studies have proven that this assumption is not true.
From a physiological perspective, caffeine causes your body to produce cortisol and adrenaline. two hormones vital for acute responses against stressful situations. These hormones increase your heart's capability to pump blood to other organs so they can have a rich supply of oxygen and nutrients.
Thus, this results in an increase in your heart rate but never leads to heart palpitations. What you feel as a heart palpitation is actually the adrenaline rush in your body that causes the famous "jitters".
Remember that these effects are related to the amount of coffee you drink in a day. A cup of coffee roughly has 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine and experts recommend a dosage below 400 mg. This is equal to 3 cups of coffee in a day.
If you drink more than the standard dosage, it is possible to cause health hazards, such as headaches, increased blood pressure. All in excess is harmful and the reported lethal dosage of caffeine is 800 to 1000 mg milligrams, which equals to about 8 cups of coffee in a day.
Therefore, as long as you drink the recommended amount of coffee, you will receive the benefits that come with it and ensure yourself from possible complications.