(Natural News) It turns out that drinking caffeine does a lot more than just help you stay awake; studies show that it can also help keep your heart healthy.
A new study out of Germany is just the latest in a growing pile of evidence demonstrating the health benefits of drinking coffee. After feeding mice doses of caffeine that were roughly equivalent to around four to five cups of coffee per day for humans, the researchers were able to modify a fairly common age-related heart defect.
In the paper, Joachim Altschmied and Judith Haendeler of Heinrich Heine University describe how caffeine’s molecular action seems to enhance heart cell function while also protecting heart cells from damage. The paper, which was published in PLOS Biology, built on the scientists’ earlier work showing how caffeine can increase the functional capacity of the cells lining blood vessels by stoking their mitochondria.
In particular, caffeine increases the amount of a protein called p27 in the mitochondria of heart cells. After inducing a heart attack in mice, researchers found the extra p27 stores in the caffeinated cells stopped the damaged heart muscle cells from dying. In addition, the p27 strengthened cells and promoted repairs in the heart’s inner chambers and blood vessel linings. They confirmed their findings by engineering mice with a p27 deficiency; these mice had impaired mitochondrial function the caffeine was unable to improve.
Although the studies took place in mice and not humans, Haendeler said that it does show that the notion that those with heart problems should avoid coffee is outdated. Should these findings hold in humans, it may give people another potential avenue for enhancing their heart health. The National Coffee Association reports that just 64 percent of Americans aged 18 and above drink at least a cup of coffee per day; the average daily consumption of Americans is 3.2 cups.
What about tea?
Are tea drinkers missing out on some of the potential health benefits provided by the caffeine in coffee? Three cups of the typical breakfast tea provides less than 150 mg of caffeine. The same amount of brewed coffee, in contrast, has almost 500 mg of caffeine. Nevertheless, tea, especially green tea, offers other health benefits that coffee cannot.
It’s also important to keep in mind that coffee and caffeine in general are not ideal for everybody. For example, drinking more than two cups of coffee per day could interfere with conception and raise the risk of miscarriage. Moreover, because people metabolize caffeine at different rates, those who tend to metabolize it more slowly could be vulnerable to side effects like insomnia, irritability, heart palpitations, and heartburn.
Of course, even though coffee may be good for your heart, it can’t substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Drinking several cups of coffee a day is unlikely to help if you’re consuming an otherwise unhealthy diet full of processed foods, unhealthy fats and sugar. It also doesn’t mean you can skip exercising, which remains a vital component of good heart health.
Coffee’s benefits extend beyond caffeine
Different research carried out by U.K. scientists that involved reviewing more than 200 studies found that coffee consumption could lower a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 15 percent and reduce their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by an impressive 19 percent. Moreover, they found that it reduced a person’s risk of liver cancer by 34 percent and lowered their colon cancer risk by 17 percent.
They found that coffee also had an effect on other illnesses. For example, those who consume the drink had a 36 percent lower chance of developing Parkinson’s disease, while their risk of developing Alzheimer’s was 27 percent lower. In this case, however, it’s believed that the antioxidants in coffee are behind the effects as those who drink decaffeinated coffee enjoyed similar benefits.
Read ReverseHeartDisease.news for more articles on heart health and prevention.
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