Coffee and your heart
James Ganem, MD, is a cardiologist and medical director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Ariz. For more information on this topic, consult your physician or call Dr. Ganem’s office at 480-899-9430.
Question: I really enjoy a good cup of coffee but also have a family history of heart disease. Is coffee something I can include as part of a heart-healthy diet?
Answer: First, you should be congratulated for paying attention to your diet to keep your heart strong and healthy. A significant number of heart-related illnesses can be prevented through lifestyle choices like regular exercise and proper nutrition, so you’re taking the right steps to protect your heart.
If you are a coffee drinker, some recent studies have shown that having two 8-ounce cups of coffee daily can actually lower your risk for heart failure.
Other studies have indicated that coffee can reduce the chance of developing Type-2 diabetes, a condition that is a known contributor to cardiovascular disease, including heart failure.
And a report in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year indicated a connection between drinking two cups of coffee and living a longer life.
However, like everything in a heart-healthy diet, moderation is the key.
While research has revealed that drinking two cups of coffee a day can protect against heart failure, those who consume substantially more on a daily basis may actually be decreasing those protective benefits.
The American Heart Association suggests that individuals with heart failure should drink no more than two 8-ounce caffeinated beverages a day, which includes coffee. Even if you don’t have diagnosed heart failure, this is a solid recommendation to follow.