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Could Coffee Help You Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease?

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For many Americans, there’s nothing quite like that first cup of coffee in the morning. But what you might not realize is that your java doesn’t merely give you a jolt of energy; it could also be protecting your heart.

Certainly, there are a number of ways to improve your cardiovascular function. Taking up a physical activity like swimming, which is the fourth most-popular sport in the U.S., can help you get a handle on your heart health. Following a more nutritious diet and reducing known sources of stress can help, too. But according to a new study, increasing your intake of caffeinated coffee could also play a role in keeping your ticker in tip-top shape.

You might assume that any indulgence could have adverse effects on your body, but that may not always be the case. Recent data using tools from the American Heart Association shows that drinking one or more cups of black, caffeinated coffee per day is connected to a reduced risk of heart failure. Interestingly, individuals who drink decaf coffee actually show higher risks of heart problems. The data suggests that heart failure risks decrease between 5% and 12% for each cup of coffee consumed daily, compared to those who don’t drink coffee at all, over time.

The findings even surprised study author Dr. David Kao, who serves as the medical director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In a statement, Kao explained: “Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc. The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head.”

That said, certain assumptions about harmful dietary factors and their connection to heart problems have been shown to hold water. Alcohol, for example, can cause a number of problems; not only can a second arrest for driving under the influence cause you to serve five days to six months in jail, but alcohol has also been tied to negative effects on the heart. In fact, one recent study showed that even a slight buzz from alcohol can trigger an irrhythmic heartbeat in many people.

The good news about coffee, however, may be welcome for those who enjoy their daily cup without any cream or sugar. Although anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 people are hospitalized each year with Legionnaires’ disease, roughly 6.2 million Americans have heart failure. Being able to reduce the risk of this serious health condition with a simple morning beverage could be a game-changer for many people. That said, if you’re not a coffee drinker or you have to watch your caffeine intake, you might have to find other ways to keep your heart pumping.

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