According to the research, drinking any more than five cups of coffee a day can negatively affect cardiovascular health. This rather depressing news comes after many of us had ramped up our coffee consumption in a bid to reduce the risk of heart disease.
It all sounds a bit like Homer Simpson’s quote around beer in which he refers to it as being “the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems”, although in this instance it’s coffee.
As with most things, the key is we need to find a happy medium. In the latest research, Dr Ang Zhou and Professor Elina Hyppönen of the Australia Centre for Precision Health found that drinking six or more coffees a day increases your risk of heart disease by more than 22 per cent.
Cardiovascular disease is Australia’s biggest killer, with data from the Heart Foundation of Australia finding that the disease affects one in six Australians.
While investigating the correlation between long-term coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease, Dr Zhou and Professor Hyppönen discovered that at a certain point, excess caffeine causes high blood pressure, a forerunner to heart disease.
Professor Hyppönen said that this is the first time an upper limit has been placed on safe coffee consumption.
“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day,” Professor Hyppönen said.
“Based on our data, six [cups] was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk.”
The researchers used the data from 347,077 adults in the United Kingdom between the ages of 37 and 73 years old to compare coffee consumption habits to diagnoses of heart disease.
They discovered that even participants that carried the caffeine-metabolising gene (CYP1A2), which processes caffeine four time faster than average, cannot consume six or more cups of coffee without harmful health effects.
Don’t worry though, these findings aren’t supposed to scare you away from your morning latte and your favourite venti caramel frappe from Starbucks.
While coffee is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, new research has found that excessive consumption could potentially do the opposite.
What Dr Zhou and Professor Hyppönen hope is, as with most good things in life, your morning brew should be enjoyed in careful moderation.
“An estimated three billion cups of coffee are enjoyed every day around the world,” Hyppönen said.
“Knowing the limits of what’s good for you and what’s not is imperative.”