New Study Reveals How Extra Cups Of Coffee Could Be Good For You

For many of us, having a cup (or more) of coffee is the only way to greet the morning and to get you through the day. And, per HealthDay, because java does have some impact on your heart rhythms, there have always been questions about how good it actually is for you. Doctors have even thought of the caffeine present in our coffee, tea, and cola as a potential heart risk, even though studies around the subject have been inconclusive.

But the American College of Cardiology says new findings from the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, are showing that not only is coffee safe, but specific amounts could actually be beneficial for people that suffer from heart disease. 

Peter M. Kistler, who is head of arrhythmia research at the institute, says, "Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn't be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease." 

2 or 3 cups of coffee may be best

To arrive at this conclusion, the American College of Cardiology says researchers did three separate studies using data obtained from U.K. BioBank, which was described as "a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people who were followed for at least 10 years." Patients were categorized based on the amount of coffee they drank, according to self-reports. The result: Kistler said that the team "found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect — meaning that it did no harm — or was associated with benefits to heart health." In fact, two or three cups a day, which might sound like plenty, appeared to have the most optimal results.

This shouldn't be surprising, especially since, as researchers point out, coffee is made up of more than just caffeine. Coffee beans themselves contain more than 100 compounds that have various effects, and Kistler says that "these substances can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism, inhibit the gut's absorption of fat, and block receptors known to be involved with abnormal heart rhythms."

We need to watch what we add to our coffee

Exciting though these results might sound, they have their limitations. While researchers' findings suggest that it didn't matter whether people had ground or instant coffee and that caffeinated coffee was better than decaf, the studies couldn't dive deeper into a number of factors, including whether patients used creamers, milk, or, or whether the respondents ate healthily as a whole. They also pointed out that because the information came from questionnaires, this factor "should be considered," per the American College of Cardiology.

But it should be good to know that Johns Hopkins Medicine has found that other studies have reported similarly positive findings surrounding coffee and its health benefits. And like the Australian studies, Johns Hopkins sounds a note of caution, warning that what we add to our coffee could determine how healthy they end up being. The recommendation is still to scale back on the cream and sugars and use milk as well as naturally sweet flavoring instead.