For most, beginning the day without a morning cup of java is unthinkable. In fact, coffee is the mainstay breakfast beverage for over 80% of the adult US population. So how does drinking coffee every day affect your heart? The answer might surprise you.
Heart health has been a focus for the American population as a whole for some time now. Studies have suggested healthier lifestyle choices as a way to bolster cardiac wellness. Courses in Basic Life Support and CPR are taught on a community level to ensure the public is provided skills to intervene in an emergency. All of this is done with the idea that creating healthy habits will support a healthier heart. Yet one very important tradition has been left out of the equation – coffee.
So how does that daily cup of coffee affect the heart? The sad truth is that coffee may be one of the worst offenders in creating heart disease. Just one cup of coffee increases stress levels and blood pressure and can even cause heart attacks. With the average consumption of 3.3 cups per day per person in the US, Americans may be obliterating any positive effects that would be gained from steps to lowering blood pressure and stress. In other words, the coffee you drink in the morning may just cancel the benefits of the blood pressure pill you take with it.
Even more troubling, the researchers concluded that the equivalent of four cups of coffee raises blood pressure for many hours. Although the increases appear modest, they are large enough to affect heart attack and stroke risk, says lead author James D. Lane, PhD. The findings were reported in the July/August issue of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. (webMD)
Of course, studies don’t suggest eliminating coffee from your morning ritual but it does suggest considering the overall goals you have for your health. If you are working toward decreasing stress levels and lowering blood pressure, your morning coffee may not be the right choice. Moderation is the key for those without hypertension and heart disease. Keeping an enjoyable early tradition with your steamy cup of Joe will still be possible with alternatives such as a decaffeinated version or herbal teas.
Stay healthy and enjoy your morning coffee too. It’s easy to plan for lifestyle changes that include a healthy “wake up” with a hot beverage that supports your goals. Your heart will thank you.