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June 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 4)

Coffee doesn’t make the heart beat faster (even if it feels like it does)
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Coffee doesn’t make the heart beat faster (even if it feels like it does) image

You know the feeling: you drink a strong cup of coffee and your heart starts beating faster. Except, it doesn’t, say researchers; coffee, tea and chocolate don’t affect our heart rhythm, and, in fact, may be good for our heart.

Everyone seems to believe that coffee makes our heart race faster, and even the American Heart Association agrees—but it’s an old wives’ tale, and one that should be consigned to the scrap heap, say researchers from the University of California at San Francisco.

They tracked the heart health and drinking habits of 1,388 people who had a normal heart rate—and it remained the same after they consumed a caffeinated product, such as tea, coffee or chocolate. Their PACS (premature atrial contractions) and PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) remained stable afterwards, and didn’t alter over the following 24 hours either.

PACs can cause atrial fibrillation, while PVCs have been associated with increased heart failure and coronary artery disease.

Many people may be put off from drinking coffee and tea because they believe it could be causing a faster heart rate, say researchers, when they could be benefiting the heart.


References

(Source: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2016; 5: e002503)

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