- The occasional after-dinner cup of coffee is worse for
the heart than drinking it every day, cardiologists say.
- The research is the first to show that the surge in blood
pressure that a non-coffee-drinker experiences, even in decaffeinated coffee,
is worse than the potential long-term effects on a coffee addict.
- Caffeine is not the culprit, but a range of other ingredients
in coffee that cause the blood vessels to contract. Frequent drinkers are
used to these effects, but in non-coffee-drinkers the sudden strain on
their heart increases their risk of a heart attack, Roberto Corti said
yesterday at the European Society of Cardiology conference in Amsterdam.
- He said that unless people drank coffee every day, the
healthiest option was never to drink any, even decaffeinated.
- "In habitual coffee-drinkers, cutting down on coffee
is not a good way to reduce their blood pressure," Dr Corti said.
"On the other hand, non-habitual drinkers would do well to avoid coffee
completely, as we believe occasional cups increase their risk of heart
- Dr Corti studied the effect on 15 volunteers of giving
them a triple espresso, a decaffeinated triple espresso and an intravenous
solution of caffeine. When they were given caffeine they experienced an
elevated heart-rate and trembling hands.
- Dr Corti, a cardiologist at the University of Zurich,
found, however, that the blood pressure of the non-habitual coffee-drinkers
rose by six times as much as that of those who drank it habitually.
- He was interested to see that this did not occur when
the patients were injected with caffeine, but that decaffeinated coffee
had the same damaging effect.
- This is because coffee is full of ingredients called
theobromines, which give the drink its flavour but also act as stimulants
that have powerful effects on the heart.
- But Chocolate Is Fine
- A chocolate a day can keep the doctor away, nutrition
experts said yesterday. It was the moment chocoholics have been waiting
- Three doctors claimed that it was as good for the heart
as red wine, tea or apples - if not better. Their research, presented to
the European Society of Cardiology, showed that chocolate reduces the risk
of blood clotting, protects against stress on the heart and relaxes blood
vessels. Those benefits were the same as for very mild aspirin and proved
to be better than red wine, scientists from the University of California,
- Dr Harold Schmitz, a nutrition expert, said that, although
calorific, chocolate is high in antioxidants - natural chemicals that
protect against disease. A 40g bar of dark chocolate contained double
the amount in a glass of red wine. His studies also showed that chocolate
was rich in a strong antioxidant, procyanidin.
- All the research presented was funded by Mars, which
is branding three of its products - M, Galaxy and the Mars Bar - with a
heart-shaped logo that shows the bars are high in procyanidin.
- Professor Charles George, the British Heart Foundation's
medical director, said that the industry had yet to prove that chocolate
prevented heart disease and he added that fatty products should be consumed
- "We advocate a balanced diet, with five portions
of fruit and vegetables a day," he said.
Site Served by TheHostPros