SYDNEY, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Drinking up to three cups of tea or coffee per day can protect people from developing irregular heart beats or arrhythmia, a new study revealed on Tuesday.
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world and the most common form of cognitive enhancement.
However, more than 80 percent of clinicians in the United States recommend patients with palpitations or arrhythmia abstain or reduce caffeine.
But the new study which involved researchers in the University of Melbourne's Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute along with partners in the United States consistently demonstrated a reduction in atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beats) with increasing levels of caffeine ingestion.
The research analyzed multiple population-based studies involving 228,465 participants to find the frequency of atrial fibrillation decreased by 6 percent in regular coffee drinkers, while a further analysis of 115,993 patients showed a risk reduction of 13 percent.
"There is a public perception, often based on anecdotal experience, that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems," lead author Peter Kistler from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute said.
"Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case."
"Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have long term anti-arrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine," Kistler concluded.
"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, due to significantly higher concentrations of caffeine, researchers advised that energy drinks should be avoided for people with pre-existing structural heart disease.