This is the surprising benefit of going for that third cup of coffee

That first cup of coffee in the morning is absolutely needed to wake you up. The second cup of coffee a bit later keeps the momentum up. The third cup is when you start to feel a bit guilty and doubt your sense of self. But this new study will help get rid of that guilt.

That first cup of coffee in the morning is absolutely needed to wake you up. The second cup of coffee a bit later helps to keep up your momentum. The third cup is when you start to feel a bit guilty and doubt your sense of self. But good news! You don’t have to have that third cup existential crisis anymore. It turns out going for that third cup may just help you fend off heart disease. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, drinking three cups of coffee a day or tea could lower the risk of abnormal heart rhythms.

Researchers from Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia analyzed 11 major international studies involving 360,000 people and found caffeine had no effect on ventricular arrhythmias. “There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said Dr. Peter Kistler, director of electrophysiology at Alfred hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute. “Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”

Three cups for the win

The research team found that caffeine intake of 300 milligrams (about three cups) a day may be safe for patients with arrhythmias. “Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine,” Kistler said. “In numerous population-based studies, patients who regularly consume coffee and tea at moderate levels have a lower lifetime risk of developing heart rhythm problems and possibly improved survival.”

However, do not now think that the more coffee you drink the less chance you have of developing heart disease. Drinking eight coffees a day is not the takeaway from this. Laurence Sperling, cardiologist at Emory Heart & Vascular Center, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “This is a good review. Although it does not support the use of caffeine as anti-arrhythmic, it does temper the concerns for the usual population. I think it’s reasonable to drink a serving or several servings of coffee or tea as there appears to be some potential benefits. Whether that’s related to the caffeine is unclear.”

So go for that third cup of coffee and be sure to stick to this schedule to get the full productivity effects. 

Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.