Now, new research from the University of South Australia has, for the first time, put a limit on safe coffee consumption and cardiovascular health.
Drinking six or more coffees a day can be detrimental to your health, increasing your risk of heart disease by up to 22 per cent.
New Zealand is the 13th highest consumer of coffee in the world, according to Canstar survey in 2017. More than half of us will go out of our way for a good cup of coffee and will skip breakfast for a brew.
And although the survey revealed that 29 per cent of Kiwis think they drink more than they should – 15 per cent of Aucklanders admitted to drinking so many in a day that they couldn’t sleep.
Investigating the association of long-term coffee consumption and cardiovascular disease, UniSA researchers Dr Ang Zhou and Professor Elina Hypponen of the Australian Centre for Precision Health say their research confirms the point at which excess caffeine can cause high blood pressure, a precursor to heart disease.
“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 caffeine is too much?’,” Hypponen says.
“Most people would agree that if you drink a lot of coffee, you might feel jittery, irritable or perhaps even nauseas – that’s because caffeine helps your body work faster and harder, but it is also likely to suggest that you may have reached your limit for the time being.
“We also know that risk of cardiovascular disease increases with high blood pressure, a known consequence of excess caffeine consumption.
“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.”
In New Zealand, one in 20 adults live with heart disease. One Kiwi dies of heart disease every 90 minutes. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, yet one of the most preventable.
About three billion cups of coffee are drunk every day around the world, and knowing your limits is “imperative”, Hypponen says.
“As with many things, it’s all about moderation; overindulge and your health will pay for it.”