For a lot of people,Coffee is a daily staple we rely on to feel energized and focused. And while you may love it for its caffeine content, experts say drinking coffee is also good for your heart (if you drink the right amount).
People used to think that coffee was bad for heart health. It was thought to increase abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), raise cholesterol and blood pressure, and increase the risk of heart attack and disease. But recent research shows that this is actually not the case, and in fact the opposite may be true.
5 ways coffee is good for heart health
When it comes to heart health, the benefits of coffee may come as a surprise. Here are a few important ones to watch out for.
1. It lowers several risk factors for heart disease
New research on coffee drinking and risk of heart disease shows that sipping your morning brew likely protects your heart in a number of ways, according to the October 2022 findings reported by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).
According to the ISIC study, people who drank 3 cups a day instead of no cups had a significantly lower risk of stroke, abnormal heartbeat and hypertension. In addition, the researchers also found that coffee drinkers were much less likely to die from heart disease or any cause.
2. It is linked to a lower risk of heart failure
Heart failure is a progressive form of heart disease that prevents the heart from pumping blood around the body effectively. Risk factors for heart failure include uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Some studies have shown a negative association between the cups of coffee people drink and their risk of heart failure, according to a February 2021 review in Circulation: heart failure. Compared to people who didn’t drink coffee, those who drank one cup a day had a 5 to 12 percent lower risk of heart failure, while those who drank two cups had a 30 percent lower risk.
Interestingly, decaffeinated coffee does not offer the same benefits. Drinking decaffeinated coffee actually increases the risk of heart disease, according to results published in the same study.
3. It is high in antioxidants
Inflammation is a major cause of heart disease and many other chronic diseases. Antioxidants are nutrients that fight inflammation in the body by neutralizing cell-damaging free radicals, according to Hopkins Medicine.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants, which have been linked to a lower risk of conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, according to the American Heart Association.
What’s more, if you love the taste of coffee, it may be one of the easiest ways to get heart-healthy antioxidants into your diet. According to an October 2014 study in the Journal of Nutrition Science.
4. It can boost your metabolism
A few sips of coffee can make you feel energized and alert, but there’s also some evidence that coffee can affect your metabolism and even play an important role in fat loss, ultimately affecting your heart health.
An older study in the American Journal of Physiologyshowed that caffeine increases metabolism and fat burning. More recent research supports these findings, showing a more specific link between drinking 4 cups of coffee a day and significant fat loss, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
What’s more, caffeine may also improve physical performance, according to an older meta-analysis in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
It also helps fight fatigue, and most people agree that you’re more likely to be physically active when you feel energized.
That’s good news for your heart, as practicing regular moderate exercise is linked to a lower risk of heart failure, according to research from August 2022 in Circulation.
5. It is associated with improved cholesterol
According to research from November 2020 in the, drinking black coffee was associated with a positive effect on HDL cholesterol levels. Journal of Multiplidicinary Healthcare.
HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” because it helps remove bad cholesterol from your bloodstream, which ultimately lowers your risk of heart disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
But the relationship between coffee and cholesterol is a bit more complicated. Coffee contains natural oils from the coffee bean called diterpenes, and these can raise total and LDL cholesterol, according to the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC).
However, the amount of diterpenes in coffee varies with the brewing method. Filter-brewed coffee contains less of these oils, while unfiltered coffee contains more.
An August 2018 study conducted at Emory University School of Medicine in Georgia shows that people with HDL cholesterol levels of 41-60 milligrams per deciliter have the lowest risk of heart disease.
How Much Coffee Should You Drink?
Drinking too much coffee can cause problems like insomnia and anxiety, but if you don’t drink enough you may not see a significant benefit.
“There is a dose-related effect, in that too little or too much coffee produces no significant health benefits,” says Adedapo Iluyomade, MD, a cardiologist at Baptist Health Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute. “Two to three cups is where the heart health benefits seem to kick in.”
All types of coffee — including ground, decaf, and instant — were associated with a lower risk of heart disease and death in a September 2022 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The effects were seen in people who drank two to three cups of coffee a day.
While two to three cups seem to provide the greatest benefit, it’s also a good idea to consider your sensitivity to caffeine. Those who feel jittery after a small dose may want to drink less.
If you already have a heart problem, it’s best to talk to your doctor before adding cups of coffee to your routine.
“Some doctors advise people with heart disease to avoid coffee completely, perhaps because caffeine can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and possibly increase heart rate and blood pressure. But more recent studies indicate that moderate amounts of coffee are fine for most people,” suggests he. .
Stick to 2 to 3 cups of coffee if you can tolerate the caffeine to get the heart health benefits. If you have existing heart disease, talk to your doctor before adding more coffee to your diet.
Making Coffee Heart-Healthy
The way you drink your coffee can affect its health benefits.
“The most nutritious way to drink coffee is plain with no additives — also known as drinking it black,” says Iluyomade. “Ideally you don’t put sugar in your coffee or other additives that are often high in calories, carbohydrates and fat.”
Ingesting a lot of sugar causes inflammation in the body and remember that inflammation is a contributing factor to heart disease.
People who drank sugar-sweetened beverages increased their risk of heart disease by 20 percent, according to a May 2020 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Full-fat dairy products, such as cow’s milk and heavy cream, are high in saturated fat, which are linked to higher LDL “bad” cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease. Try to use it in moderation or opt for black coffee, which offers more benefits for your ticker.