Contrary to a widely held belief that drinking caffeinated beverages causes heart palpitations, a new study from the University of San Francisco suggests that drinking coffee, tea, or chocolate is not linked to irregular heart rhythms.
“Clinical recommendations advising against the regular consumption of caffeinated products to prevent disturbances of the heart's cardiac rhythm should be reconsidered, as we may unnecessarily be discouraging consumption of items like chocolate, coffee, and tea that might actually have cardiovascular benefits,” said lead researcher, cardiologist Dr. Gregory Marcus.
During the study, researchers examined 1,388 subjects who were all participants in another study about heart health. The median age of the group was 72.
Focusing specifically on coffee, tea, and chocolate, researchers measured subjects’ instances of irregular heartbeats — premature ventricular contractions and premature atrial contractions. In the end, researchers did not identify any differences in instances of heart palpitations or abnormal rhythms, no matter how much coffee, tea, or chocolate subjects consumed.
“Therefore, we are only able to conclude that in general, consuming caffeinated products every day is not associated with having increased ectopy or arrhythmia — but [we] cannot specify a particular amount per day,” the team concluded in the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Prior research on the link between coffee and health has even suggested that coffee can counteract the deadly effects of alcohol on your liver, and that moderate coffee consumption — one to two cups a day — is safe during pregnancy.