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Tea and coffee are two beverages that have found fans around the world. Globally, people are hooked onto these two caffeinated drinks which feature in daily diet and meals plans of millions of people. There have been several conflicting studies on the health benefits of both these drinks and their various varieties. Now a new study has indicated that drinking upto three cups of tea or coffee is safe for health, and might even reduce risk of irregular heartbeat and stroke. The results of the study have been published in the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

The study comes as a pleasant surprise to many coffee lovers with abnormal heart rhythms, as doctors generally discourage patients suffering from the condition from drinking the caffeinated beverage. Coffee has previously been believed to worsen the condition. However, the results of this particular study say that a daily consumption of upto 300 mg of caffeine may be safe for arrhythmic patients. This is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system and blocks the effect of adenosine. Adenosine is a chemical which causes Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).

A lead author of the study Peter Kistler, who is a Director at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital said, “There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems.” He added by saying, “Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea have long-term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine.” The team of researchers looked at a number of population-based studies for the review and came up with the above results.

Data from a total of 228,465 participants showed that regular coffee drinkers showed a decrease of 6 per cent in AFib frequency. Another analysis of 115,993 patients showed a reduction of 13 per cent in the risk. Another study involving 103 people showed that consumption of an average of 353 mg of caffeine every day by post-heart attack patients lead to an improvement in heart rate and no significant arrhythmias. However, this study is not a validation for you to down as many cups of coffee as you like! Two studies showed that patients who drank between nine to 10 cups of coffee every day were at an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmias (VAs). This is a condition which causes the lower chambers of the heart to beat very quickly.

The study also went on to prove that tea and coffee are better for consumption than other energy drinks. Researchers found that heart patients who drank two or more energy drinks in a day reported palpitations within 24 hours. It is pertinent here to mention that while a cup of coffee has just 90 mg caffeine, energy drinks mostly contain concentrated caffeine.

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