The Connection Between Caffeine and Heart Health You Should Know About


The more I learn about caffeine, the more *stimulated* I getโ€”especially since many of my discoveries appear to validate my long-standing coffee-drinking habits.

For instance, most of the longest-living people on the planet across all but one of the Blue Zones arenโ€™t strangers to caffeinating, either; and Finland, the reigning happiest country on Earth, just so happens to have the highest coffee consumption rates. And letโ€™s definitely not forget about caffeineโ€™s powers to facilitate satisfying poops aplenty.

To see if I could uncover more good news about java and caffeine at large, I reached out to Kaustubh Dabhadkar, MD, MPH, MBA, FACC, a preventive cardiologist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ahead, see how the stimulant fares for heart health and how to keep your intake within (deliciously) beneficial bounds.

Is caffeine beneficial for heart health?

Dr. Dabhadkar says that caffeine can absolutely have positive effects on heart health (woohoo!). Yet this will typically only apply so long as you stick to low or moderate consumption. Caffeine โ€œcan increase blood flow to the heart, reduce fat production, and reduce the adverse effects of sugar on the body,โ€ he shares. โ€œThis may explain why people who consume two to three cups of coffee every day have better health outcomes compared to people who don’t drink coffee or drink too much coffee.โ€ (More on this stat to come.)

Caffeine โ€œcan increase blood flow to the heart, reduce fat production, and reduce the adverse effects of sugar on the body. This may explain why people who consume two to three cups of coffee every day have better health outcomes compared to people who don’t drink coffee or drink too much coffee.โ€ โ€”Kaustubh Dabhadkar, MD, MPH, MBA, FACC, preventive cardiologist

Again, moderation is the name of the game, as there can be too much of a good thing as far as caffeine is concerned. โ€œCaffeine has complex effects on the cardiovascular system,โ€ Dr. Dabhadkar continues. โ€œIn high doses, it can contribute to heart rhythm disorders, increase blood pressure, and even affect the metabolism of heart medicines including beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers like felodipine.โ€ Per the FDA, caffeineโ€™s effects can shift from beneficial to risky if your daily intake exceeds 1.2 grams. Once you reach this level, caffeine can trigger anxiety, restlessness, and insomniaโ€”each of which are troublesome on their own, but also have negative ramifications for heart health.

โ€œThese symptoms can lead to an increased risk of heart arrhythmias [aka irregular heartbeat] due to how caffeine affects calcium inside cells, increasing the activity of heart pacemaker cells,โ€ the cardiologist shares. โ€œHigh doses of caffeine can also temporarily raise blood pressure by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, though this effect usually diminishes with regular consumption.โ€ Long-term blood pressure control, he adds, is generally not affected.

โ€œIn high doses, caffeine can contribute to heart rhythm disorders, increase blood pressure, and even affect the metabolism of heart medicines including beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers like felodipine.โ€

3 heart-healthy caffeinating tips

To ensure that your caffeine habits stand to benefit your heart and healthspan, Dr. Dabhadkar offers a few parting tips.

1. Be mindful of your daily caffeine intake

First and foremost, aim to keep your intake of caffeinated bevs below 1.2 grams each day. You may get your caffeine from a few different sourcesโ€”like a home-filtered brew each morning, an iced green tea with lunch, a mid-afternoon Starbucks run, an evening kombucha, and so on.

That said, caffeine content can add up more easily than you imagine. Think you may be hovering a bit too close to that 1.2 gram threshold? Consult this helpful caffeine chart, courtesy of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lists how much caffeine you can expect in popular branded and generic (and even some desserts).

2. Modify your intake based on personal factors

The 1.2 gram upper limit is only a general recommendation that wonโ€™t fit everyoneโ€™s needs. โ€œBased on the variation of caffeine metabolism, your response to caffeine may be different,โ€ Dr. Dabhadkar shares. โ€œIt’s important to be mindful of how you respond to a particular amount of caffeine,โ€ so adjust your yields accordingly. Moreover, certain people will need to take greater precautions and probably scale back their intake further.

โ€œThose with cardiovascular conditions or a family history of heart issues should be particularly cautious with high caffeine intake, especially from sources like energy drinks and caffeine pills,โ€ Dr. Dabhadkar says.

3. Prioritize healthy forms of caffeine

If you want to go the extra mile for heart health, you may want to sip on a few specific sources of caffeine. Per a large 2022 study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, long-term consumption of ground and instant coffee is associated with reduced arrhythmia compared to outcomes for non-coffee drinkers. Moreover, these types of coffee, as well as decaf, are associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular disease and mortality (again versus those who abstain)โ€”particularly at two or three cups a day, as Dr. Dabhadkar noted earlier. โ€œThe overall reduction in mortality is most likely related to the combination of caffeine and antioxidants since this extends to even decaffeinated drinks,โ€ he explains.

In short, remember that even mild amounts of caffeine can yield major benefits for your heart and longevity. Green tea is another all-star on this front, so mix and matchโ€”or rather, brew and conquerโ€”to your heartโ€™s proverbial content and actual health.


Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.


  1. David Chieng, Rodrigo Canovas, Louise Segan, Hariharan Sugumar, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Sandeep Prabhu, Liang-Han Ling, Geoffrey Lee, Joseph B Morton, David M Kaye, Jonathan M Kalman, Peter M Kistler, The impact of coffee subtypes on incident cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and mortality: long-term outcomes from the UK Biobank,ย European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Volume 29, Issue 17, November 2022, Pages 2240โ€“2249,ย https://doi.org/10.1093/eurjpc/zwac189




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