Coffee or wine — which is better for your heart? Local doctor weighs in

Simple Health

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The hustle and bustle of the holidays may have you reaching for the coffee mug or the wine glass — but which is better for your health?

Research suggests while coffee does change your heart’s rhythm, alcohol may be the bigger problem for your heart.  

This information was presented to the American Heart Association earlier this month and was found in what is described as the first randomized study into real-time effects of coffee and your heart.

The AHA says the analysis found coffee consumption was associated with a 54% increase in premature ventricular contractions, a type of abnormal heartbeat originating in the lower heart chambers reported to feel like a skipped heartbeat. In contrast, drinking more coffee was associated with fewer episodes of supraventricular tachycardia, an abnormally rapid heart rhythm arising from the upper heart chambers.

Dr. Andrea Natale the executive medical director of the Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David’s hospital says the biggest trigger to irregular heartbeat isn’t coffee.

“Alcohol is the true offender of the heart especially the irregular heartbeat or Atrial fibrillation.”

According the AHA, Atrial fibrillation or (AFib) is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications. At least 2.7 million Americans are living with AFib.

Alcohol is a known trigger for a specific form of AFib called holiday heart syndrome (HHS) the sudden onset of A-fib in people with otherwise healthy hearts when they binge drink. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as more than 4-5 drinks in a 2-hour period.

Dr. Natale says if you have to choose between which is healthier for your heart, alcohol or coffee — he says moderation is the answer.

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