REUTERS/Maranie Staab
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If you are a coffee addict then here’s some good news for you.

A new research suggests that drinking three cups of coffee a day can be good for your heart, and you can even go up to six cups. The health benefits of drinking coffee outweighs its negative aspects, the research conducted by the American College of Cardiology revealed, adding that drinking coffee could actually reduce the frequency of irregular heartbeats – known as arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias could result in the heart to beat either too fast, too slow or unevenly.

Researchers also found that up to six cups of coffee, or about 500 mg of caffeine a day – didn’t cause irregular heartbeats.

Healthy antioxidants contained in caffeine are probably behind the phenomenon, cardiologist Dr Peter Kistler, who led the new study and is director of the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, was quoted as saying.

It’s commonly assumed that the stimulant effect of caffeine can cause the heart to beat faster, leading to illness. But that’s not the case, points out Kistler.

“There is a public perception – often based on anecdotal experience – that caffeine is a common acute trigger for heart rhythm problems,” said Dr Kistler. “Our extensive review of the medical literature suggests this is not the case.”

“Caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea may have a long-term anti-rrhythmic properties mediated by antioxidant effects and antagonism of adenosine.

“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 possible improved survival.”

Besides protecting the heart, coffee reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer.

However, coffee remains controversial. California last month declared it as a carcinogen. The state of California has a list of chemicals it considers as possible causes of cancer and one of them is acrylamide, which is created when coffee beans are roasted.

Acrylamide is also seen in baked goods such as crackers, bread and cookies, breakfast cereal, canned black olives and prune juice, reports indicate.