Coffee may give you the extra energy-revitalizing boost that you need to get through your busy day, however, it turns out that it might also be having a negative effect on your body. According to research that was recently presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021, coffee drinkers can find themselves experiencing irregular heartbeats if they consume too much of their favorite brew.
The study (which was funded in part by the University of California, San Francisco Division of Cardiology) observed 100 volunteers who were an average of 38 years old. When the participants drank more than one cup of coffee, the readings from the ECG devices they wore—which monitor heart rhythm—recorded twice the amount, or a 54% increase, of premature ventricular contractions coming from the lower chambers of the heart.
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“Coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world, yet its health effects remain uncertain,” Gregory Marcus, M.D., M.A.S., one of the study authors and the associate chief of cardiology for research and endowed professor of atrial fibrillation research at the University of California, San Francisco, explained. Marcus went on to note that while “the majority of long-term observational studies have suggested multiple potential benefits of drinking coffee, this is the first randomized trial to investigate the real-time, physiologic consequences of coffee consumption.”
That said, the implications of this study seem to be that coffee causes an immediate but temporary effect on your heartbeat.
As Dr. Jim Liu, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Eat This, Not That!: “As a stimulant, caffeine can have short-term effects on the heart,” which can include both “increasing blood pressure and increasing palpitations.”
However, according to Dr. Liu, while “chronic caffeine use may slightly increase blood pressure, for the most part, caffeine consumption has not been shown to have any major long-term adverse effects to cardiovascular health as long as it’s used in small to moderate amounts.”
The key is to drink your coffee in moderation. And, as for what to do if you feel that your heart rate is somewhat off after drinking coffee, Dr. Liu noted, “I think it’s a good idea, in general, to consult with a healthcare provider if you are having irregular heartbeats, especially if they are persistent and bothersome.”
To find out how to drink coffee in a way that will benefit your body, be sure to read The #1 Best Coffee Habit For Weight Loss, Says Dietitian.