Coffee and heart disease: How stimulants affect the cardiovascular system
When it comes to coffee and heart disease, there are conflicting results. Some studies say that it can increase the risk of heart related problems such as heart attack, while others say that coffee actually decreases the risk of heart disease.
Well, they are both right but to understand why there are such conflicting results, we have to take a look at nutritional profile of the coffee.
COFFEE AND HEART DISEASE - STIMULANTS
The most significant compound in coffee, when it comes to stimulants and heart disease, is caffeine. Caffeine is natural stimulant which is also found in yerba mate, guarana, kola nut, tea, dark chocolate as well as in some drinks such as Coca-Cola and Red Bull.
Stimulants can raise blood pressure and heart rate, by increasing hormonal output of adrenaline and cortisol.
This makes caffeine and heart disease a dangerous combination, especially in someone with high blood pressure or impaired heart function. By ingesting too much stimulants, they can raise their blood pressure even more which can, in combination with fast heart rate and weakened heart function, lead to heart attack and death.
MODERATION IS THE KEY
However, caffeine is not the only ingredient in coffee. It also contains numerous antioxidants which can actually help decrease the risk of heart disease. While coffee bean in its natural form, is very rich in various phytochemicals, some of them are also produced during the roasting process, thereby increasing its antioxidant content even more.
Coffee may also raise LDL cholesterol as well as lead to sleeping problems, restlessness and anxiety since it stimulates central nervous system. In order to get the most of it, when it comes to coffee and heart disease, moderation is the key. This way, you won't over stimulate your CNS and you will still get all the disease fighting antioxidants, into your system.
On the other hand, if you are very sensitive to stimulants, then it is better to stay away from it, until the condition of your cardiovascular system improves.
SAY NO - TO SUGAR AND CREAM
How much coffee you drink is not the only important factor. Which kind of additives you put in it, also matters. Sugar and cream are empty calories as well as unhealthy source of simple carbs and bad fats which in no way shape or form benefit your health. Actually, simple sugars and trans fats are the main causes of heart related problems.
When it comes to coffee and heart disease, simple sugars and trans fats can negatively affect blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides and hormones since they lead to weight gain which imparis hormonal balance.
Ultimately, all these factors have an influence on heart muscle, blood vessels and formation of plaque which can lead to heart attack.
SAY YES - TO HONEY, CINNAMON, ALMOND MILK AND DARK CHOCOLATE
On the other hand, substituting cream and sugar for healthy alternatives can have the opposite effect. Not only that you are nullifying the bad effect of these two but you are also improving health benefits of the coffee.
Add honey or stevia, instead of sugar. Substitute cream with some nutritionally rich aditives such as cinnamon, dark chocolate, ginger or vanilla. Play with them and find which one suits you best.
I also advise you to remove cows milk from your diet. Although small amount of milk in coffee won't have any significant effect, when it comes to coffee and heart disease, it is better to be safe than sorry. You can substitute it for goat, almond or coconut milk which are better and healthier choices, when consumed in moderation.
If you don't like any of these ideas, you can always drink your coffee black or cut your sugar intake in half, which can also help.
OTHER HEALTH EFFECTS OF COFFEE
Stimulants such as coffee can be very useful in lowering the risk of age related brain diseases such as dementia. Numerous studies have shown that drinking coffee in moderation, on regular basis, can decrease the risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease as well as improve brain function since the stimulants such as caffeine, stimulate central nervous system.
However, it can also lower the risk of diabetes, protect the liver from damage and prevent gum disease which can be very helpful, when it comes to coffee and heart disease but only when consumed in moderation.
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