Scientists believe coffee has several benefits, including protection against liver disease and diabetes. It also may be able to protect your heart, according to a new report.
Researchers from health institutions in Germany recently conducted a study, published in the PLOS Biology journal, to explore the link between coffee and heart health.
To do so, they used data from a previous study that examined 400,000 people. They also observed caffeinated mice as well as human tissues doused in caffeine.
They found that caffeine helps a special regulatory protein called p27 travel to the mitochondria, an organelle in cells that produce energy.
The protein was found in the mitochondria of several of the major cells in the heart and helped enhance the function of the mitochondria. It also aided in the protection of the cardiovascular cells.
“In these cells, mitochondrial p27 promoted migration of endothelial cells, protected heart muscle cells from cell death, and triggered the conversion of fibroblasts into cells containing contractile fibers - all crucial for repair of heart muscle after myocardial infarction,” the authors explained.
Upon further investigation, they determined that four cups of coffee can trigger those chain of events that keep your heart from damage.
“Our results indicate a new mode of action for caffeine," the team said, "one that promotes protection and repair of heart muscle. These results should lead to better strategies for protecting heart muscle from damage, including consideration of coffee consumption or caffeine as an additional dietary factor in the elderly population.”
This isn’t the first study that has uncovered a positive link between caffeine and heart health.
Earlier this year, researchers in Austria published a study that assessed the data of more than 360,000 people with heart issues. They discovered that caffeine may reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that causes an irregular heartbeat.