I used to drink a lot of coffee. I mean a lot of strong coffee. People would look at my cup and then shudder: “How can you drink that?” Well, maybe I have the CYP1A2 gene, or maybe I was younger. Fact is, I can’t drink that much coffee anymore. Science tells us now how much coffee is too much. We also have a healthier alternative…
Just when you think we’ve gotten to the bottom of this whole “coffee is good for you” thing, a new team of researchers fearlessly plumb the depths even further to find an as-yet-undiscovered cavern of coffee healthfulness. In a new study of nearly 350,000 participants, researchers from the Australian Centre for Precision Health found the number of cups of coffee you can drink per day before the risks outweigh the benefits. That number is five.
The University of South Australia’s (UniSA) has revealed that drinking six or more coffees a day can increase the risk of heart disease up to 22 per cent.
According to the Heart Foundation cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death, with one person dying from the disease every 12 minutes.
UniSA Researchers Dr Ang Zhou and Professor Elina Hyppönen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health say its new research confirms the point at which excess caffeine can cause high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease.
This is the first time a limit has been placed on a safe coffee consumption and cardiovascular health.
“Coffee is the most commonly consumed stimulant in the world – it wakes us up, boosts our energy, and helps us focus – but people are always asking how much is too?” says Elina.
“Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel a little jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseas – that’s because caffeine helps your body work fast and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached you limit for the time being.
Of course, too much of a good thing can lead to negative conditions. Another team of researchers focused on finding out how much coffee will be consumed for the health conditions to outweigh the benefits.
According to new research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, excess caffeine can lead to high blood pressure, which, in turn can cause heart disease. Findings show that drinking six or more cups of coffee every day increases the risk of heart disease by up to 22 percent.
“In order to maintain a healthy heart and a healthy blood pressure, people must limit their coffees to fewer than six cups a day-based on our data six was the tipping point where caffeine started to negatively affect cardiovascular risk,” said Elina Hyppönen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health in a news release.
The research team used UK Biobank data of 346,077 individuals aged 37 to 73 years. They found also found that despite the ability of the caffeine-metabolizing gene CYP1A2 to process caffeine better and more quickly, it doesn’t mean that individuals who carry this gene can consume more coffee without detrimental effects.
Well, you might be able to drink an even healthier beverage with less health risks by replacing your espresso with tasty dark brew made from pure cacao powder. But maybe coffee is not about drinking more, but drinking better coffee. And NO, I am not talking about the most expensive coffee in the world here. I am talking about decent third wave coffee beans and preparation.
The person behind this idea is Elina Luzi, the founder of a company called Live Better, the maker of a cocao espresso making machine called the Chokkino. I met Luzi last week in Milan at Seeds & Chips, where she not only brewed up a cup of cacao espresso for me (definitely tasty), but also told me why she wants to replace the coffee bean with cacao.
“Coffee is a fantastic beverage, but drinking too much may lead to stress and other problems like anxiety and insomnia,” said Luzi. With the Chokkino, she says they are returning cacao to its roots as a “functional food” where it has served as a powerful drink for thousands of years.
I agree with that, and I love espresso blends, but sometimes they contain way too much caffeine, and that reduces my daily coffee intake.
According to Luzi, the Chokkino, which has only shipped so far in her home country of Italy, is currently available in about 350 cafes and restaurants today. One of those locations is the Bologna airport, where I saw a sign advertising Chokkino beverages as I rushed towards my gate.
Not only are cacao beans packed full of magnesium and antioxidants, but they trigger three neurotransmitters that are associated with elevating mood and mental well being: serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine.