New research has suggested that tea and coffee, instead of giving you the ‘caffeine jitters’, could actually benefit your heart.
People with heart arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms, have traditionally been advised to stay away from caffeine but a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has linked consumption of tea and coffee to decreased risks of developing the condition. Arrhythmias cause the heart to beat irregularly, either too fast or too slowly.
The research, which involved comparing results for over 350,000 people, concluded that caffeine does not affect ventricular arrhythmias. Lead doctor Peter Kistler explained that while caffeine is often blamed for triggering problems with arrhythmia, there is no scientific evidence to support the theory. He went on to say that caffeined drinks may in fact be actively good for our hearts long term, due to the ‘anti-oxidant properties and antagonism of adenosine’. Extensive research supports the conclusion that if you regularly drink a moderate amount of tea and coffee, you could have a lower risk over your lifetime of developing arrhythmia possibly even improved chances of survival.
If you have an existing heart condition, though, drinking an excess of caffeine (particularly in the form of caffeinated energy drinks), may be harmful. The research suggests that in this context ‘excess’ means over 300 mg a day, where a standard cup of filter coffee contains around 95mg and an espresso contains around 200mg. Put simply, drinking up to three cups of coffee a day may be safe if you have arrhythmia, as long as it’s not super-strong! The research notes that some people have have an increased sensitivity to caffeine, though, and their ‘trigger’ level may be much lower.
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