Is Coffee Bad for the Heart? Cardiovascular Disease Risk

What do the scientists say about coffee intakes and cardiovascular disease risk?

This article will tell you about the effects of coffee and caffeine on cardiac work, i.e. whether coffee drinking causes cardiac arrhythmia, if caffeine increases blood pressure and what the correlation between excessive coffee consumption and heart attack or coronary heart disease risks is.

Heart diseases are one of the most widespread causes of disability and early death. This type of disease is interconnected not only with genetic disposition but also with life-styles. Smoking, alcohol and other addictions, plus unhealthy diet and other factors are associated with coronary disease and worsening heart diseases in general. Caffeine is one of those factors.

Myth 1. Coffee increases blood pressure?

An increase in blood pressure is an immediate reaction of the body to caffeine intake, and it’s a well-known fact that high blood pressure causes cardiovascular disease. However, scientific studies report that standard caffeine intake doesn’t affect arterial blood pressure too much. Such a short-term effect is so minor that can be compared with slight excitement.

In fact, hypertension from which people suffer nowadays is more a consequence of unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and overweight.

Myth 2. Coffee increases the risk of stroke?

Most of the studies show that there is no correlation between moderate caffeine consumption (maximum 5 coffees a day) and increased risk of stroke – one of the main heart disorders and causes of death.

Moreover, regular coffee intake may decrease the risk of stroke, preventing such a symptom as coronary atherosclerosis. The studies conducted by the Kangbuk Samsung hospital in Seoul, South Korea, have found that those who drink 3 to 5 coffees a day have the least risk of coronary calcium in arteries.

It’s nevertheless worth mentioning that South Korean studies are not always so true for Europeans who have different lifestyles, different diet, etc. 

Myth 3. Coffee increases cholesterol concentration?

Increased cholesterol concentration is a close call for those having cardiovascular disease. No wonder regular coffee drinkers are concerned about its link to cholesterol levels.

In reality, coffee is safe and causes only small increase of cholesterol. Still, one should keep in mind that it also depends on the coffee brewing methods, and in this respect  Scandinavian coffee brewing can be considered the most dangerous; here coffee grounds aren’t filtered and thus can increase cholesterol concentration. Such results were obtained during the scientific experiment in the Netherlands, when the experimental group was drinking coffee made in a cafetière in the Scandinavian style for 6 months.

It’s worth mentioning, though, that this kind of a study was “dragged in” and has little to do with European coffee drinking culture: an experimental group had to drink 5 cups of coffee a day, while the coffee was so strong that needed watering to reach drinkable concentration.

Myth 4. Coffee increases heart rate?

Another myth nurtured by all kinds of studies is as follows: coffee affects the heart rate and causes arrhythmia. Summarizing all the evidence, however, the British Heart fund finds no correlation between arrhythmia and caffeine intakes, which means that moderate coffee drinking doesn’t increase the risk of arrhythmia. The British Heart refers to a bunch of scientific researches that prove no link of increased heart rate to caffeine consumption.

Myth 5. Coffee increases the risk of cardiovascular disease? 

The British Heart fund mentioned above comes to a conclusion that everyday moderate coffee drinking doesn’t cause cardiovascular disease, if the daily dose is 4 standard (8 oz) cups at most.

Recent studies also deny the myth about coffee causing or worsening other heart diseases, for example, coronary heart disease. According to the 2008 studies, regular coffee drinking doesn’t increase death rate for males or females.

The experts claim that there’s no need to abstain from coffee completely to prevent cardiovascular disease risk, as it only has a very small effect. What you can do to prevent heart disease risk is keep to healthy diet and do sports.