Are you someone who relies on a cup of coffee to get you going in the morning? People who drink the equivalent of two cups of Joe on a daily basis might be giving their hearts a helping hand. According to the Los Angeles Times, a new study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions indicated that a drinking coffee can improve cardiovascular health. Research was conducted by scientists at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, who identified a link between blood vessel function and levels of caffeine in the blood.
Studying caffeine and cardiovascular health
According to USA Today, researchers examined 27 healthy adults between the ages of 22 and 30 who were not habitual coffee drinkers. Each individual was asked to drink a 5-ounce cup of coffee before having his or her level of vascular efficiency measured. Participants were asked to select either caffeinated or decaf coffee, and then repeat the experiment after drinking the opposite variety two days later.
The Los Angeles Times reported that vessel function was measured by attaching a probe to the tip of the participants' index fingers which could determine the amount of blood flow to the region. Circulation was then restricted for a minute, after which researchers timed how long it took until the individual regained normal blood flow. According to the news source, this process occurred an average of 30 percent faster among participants on the day when they drank the caffeinated coffee, compared to those who opted for the decaf. Additionally, a heart rate comparison between caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee drinkers showed a consistent heart rate.
Possible side effects
Not all of the effects of drinking the caffeinated beverage, however, were positive. USA Today reported that individuals did register slightly higher blood pressure readings after drinking regular coffee, and lower blood flow to the finger. Researchers leading the study noted the results and their intention to continue studying the possible link between caffeine consumption and vascular performance.
"This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health," said Dr. Masato Tsutsui, the cardiologist heading the experiment, in a statement, adding that this could lead to "a new treatment strategy for cardiovascular disease in the future."
Looking to boost your own heart health from drinking coffee? Just keep in mind that it can be too much of a good thing. According to the Mayo Clinic, over-consuming caffeine can lead to a variety of problems, such as insomnia, irritability, increased heart rate, indigestion or muscle tremors. Older adults may be particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine, which can have a more notable impact on men than on women.
In addition, caffeine can adversely react with individual's medications. The source highlighted a few drugs whose effects could be altered by drinking coffee, including several antibiotics and echinacea, a supplement typically taken as a preventative measure against colds and infections.
When to get checked out
Signs that your love of coffee might be having a negative impact on your life include if you begin experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep, or have feelings of anxiousness or jitters after drinking the caffeinated beverage. The National Institutes of Health reported that the average senior citizen consumes approximately 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, which equals between two and three cups of coffee a day.
If you feel that your caffeine consumption is affecting your daily life in a negative way, you may want to cut back on the number of cups of coffee that you drink, or speak with a medical professional about other changes you can make.