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Is Coffee Good For Heart Health? Here's What Researchers Found

By Bindu Vinodh

Caffeine can help the heart grow stronger and repair itself from damage, suggests a recent German study. Pointing out to the health-boosting effects of caffeine on heart cells, the study revealed that the elderly can drink four cups of coffee per day to protect and repair their heart muscle.

The caffeine levels, equivalent to four cups of coffee, can protect the healthy blood vessels and help repair the heart after a heart attack. This is because caffeine triggers a protein called 'p27' that helps in regeneration of heart cells and helps in the protection of the cells from damage.

Caffeine has the ability to make cells that line the arteries and veins healthier, by improving their ability to resist or recover from damage.

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The study particularly points out that it is the elderly who could benefit from caffeine, as their hearts may be naturally weaker and more at risk of damage. Further, caffeine strengthens mitochondria, which is responsible for giving cells the energy, so that they remain healthy and protective.

Caffeine Lowers Diabetes Risk

Caffeine also lowers your risk for diseases such as type 2 Diabetes and stroke, it is said. The research was conducted on obese pre-diabetic mice, and it showed that caffeine could yield the same benefits for the elderly whose hearts are more at risk of damage due to weaker cells.

According to another study by Swiss scientists, coffee modifies kidney cells to respond to caffeine to help people with diabetes. In people, whose pancreas does not produce proper insulin, the kidneys are edited to ensure that they make insulin, and this triggering is controlled by caffeine.

This implies that a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee can even have protective effects against type 2 diabetes, triggering insulin production, and eventually the patients can do without injection.

Coffee Consumption Can Be A Protective Dietary Factor For The Elderly

The results imply that we can adopt better strategies in protecting heart muscles from damage, and this includes consumption of coffee by including it as a necessary dietary factor among the elderly. Researchers are of the hope that their findings may help improve ways to protect people's hearts.

As for why caffeine is particularly beneficial to the elderly, it is because the data showed that caffeine improves mitochondrial capacity of the old heart in comparison to that of a normal adult heart.

Improving the heart functioning of the elderly is a vital factor that helps them in leading a longer, healthier life. Coffee consumption or caffeine is thought to be an additional protective dietary factor in this direction for the elderly. This is because the analysis has confirmed that habitual intake of coffee reduced the heart disease mortality among the elderly, the researchers pointed out.

Coffee Is Associated With Less Calcium Deposits In Arteries

This was not the first time that coffee has shown to lower the risk of heart diseases. Earlier, a 2015 study on healthy young adults in Korea also indicated that people who drank at least three cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of calcium deposits in their coronary arteries, which is an indicator of heart disease, in comparison to those who did not drink coffee. That is to say that, people who drank at least three cups of coffee a day had 40 per cent less calcium deposits in their arteries than those who did not consume coffee.

For several years, researchers have been tracing a link between coffee drinking and heart health, as coffee has several other health benefits too. With this Germany Study, the researchers conclude that about four cups of coffee a day is required for optimal heart health, particularly for the elderly.

According to cardiologists, it may even reduce arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) in some patients. However, the key here is not to overdo it.

Other Health Benefits Of Coffee

Apart from protecting the heart, caffeine is associated with several other health benefits, including helping people avoid gaining weight, speeding up metabolism, and some studies have even indicated that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can lower the incidence of Parkinson's and help reduce the risk of liver, mouth, and throat cancer.

Caffeine is fat-burning, and therefore a good reason to enjoy your morning cuppa. Caffeine has few natural substances that have been actually proven to help in fat burning. Several studies have shown that caffeine boosts metabolic rate by 3% to 11%, and can particularly help in burning of fat by 10% in obese individuals and 29% in lean people.

Alzheimer's disease, the most common neurodegenerative disease that affects the elderly, can be prevented to a great extent with coffee consumption, apart from indulging in other physical activities and eating healthy. There has been evidence in studies showing coffee drinkers to have 65% lesser chances of getting Alzheimer's.

Although there is no cure for the condition, when you include 3 cups of coffee a day to your healthy lifestyle, it may help in the occurrence of the disease in the first place.

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However, a word of caution here is that coffee drinking is not advisable for patients already suffering from cancer, as caffeine can make blood vessels grow, which may provide more oxygen to fuel tumours. But, there is no harm in healthy adults having three cups of coffee a day, as it may help in keeping your heart and circulatory system better and functional for a longer time.

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