Can Your Morning Coffee Repair Your Heart?
"I was trekking through the Amazon rainforest visiting the Guarani tribe. They introduced me to an ancient herb called guarana."
The food police here in the U.S. try to make you feel guilty about caffeine. Your cardiologist will even tell you to switch to decaf.
Researchers from Germany showed that caffeine can improve heart function in older people in just 10 days. The caffeine transformed old hearts into younger adult hearts.
You might think that caffeine works by stimulating the heart, the same way it stimulates your brain and energy. But it actually works deep down at the cellular level to protect and repair the heart muscle.
The researchers found that mitochondria in the heart need a protein called p27. You know by now that mitochondria are the tiny power plants that fuel every cell in your body. They turn nutrients into fuel. Each of your heart muscle cells has 5,000 of these energy generators. They keep your heart strong, young and energetic.
When the caffeine moved the p27 protein into the mitochondria, it protected heart muscle cells from death and damage. It helped repair the heart muscle after a heart attack. And it improved the function of endothelial cells that line the interior of blood vessels.
All of this helps explain why population studies find that older people with a coffee habit have a reduced risk of death from heart disease. One study from Brazil found that people drinking just three cups of coffee a day reduced calcification or hardening of their coronary artery by an amazing 67%!
Other studies link coffee drinking with lower death rates from type 2 diabetes, respiratory disease and stroke. Coffee can also slash the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's by 65%.
These are powerful studies, but still I don't drink coffee very much anymore. I found a better natural source of caffeine…
I was trekking through the Amazon rainforest visiting the Guarani tribe. They introduced me to an ancient herb called guarana. They use it to fight fatigue and maximize physical endurance. And it really worked for me. We were on a grueling 18-hour trek through the jungle. But the whole time my mind was crystal clear. And I never felt worn out.
When I returned from my visit with the Guarani, I analyzed the guarana seeds I brought home. I found they're rich in a substance called guaranine. It's very similar to caffeine but with one big difference.
Guaranine's caffeine is bound together with healthy fatty acids. You get a gradual release of caffeine with no crash and no coffee jitters. And the energy effect lasts all day.
I prefer the effects of guarana. It wakes me up better than a cup of coffee. And I still get all the same caffeine perks. It sharpens my focus, and helps me maintain clear, reliable memory.
Get an Ancient Caffeine Fix for a Healthy Heart Boost
Guarana berries are too bitter to eat. But the Guarani tribesmen showed me how to make an extract from the seeds. They dissolved it in liquid to make an energy drink. And all over Brazil I saw locals creating their own energy shots by adding guarana extract to sweetened or carbonated soft drinks. Vendors even sell these energy shots at kiosks on city streets.
You've probably noticed guarana advertised extensively on the Internet. It's become a superstar. It's in products for weight loss, athletic performance and energy. But beware…
Some unethical manufacturers list this herb on the label. But they've really just added a lot of chemical caffeine. That's what gives you the jitters. Only buy guarana from providers you know and trust. Here are the two easy ways to enjoy guarana:
•Drink an energy-boosting tea. Tea Haven sells whole guarana seeds online. They also blend guarana tea with black, green, oolong or rooibos teas for a nicer flavor. You can enjoy 1 to 3 cups of the tea a day as long as you're not sensitive to caffeine.
•Make your own all-natural energy drink. You can also find guarana powder in health food stores and online. Since the powder is bitter, it's best to mix it into a sweet citrus drink with a strong flavor. I like grapefruit or pineapple juice. You can also add it to smoothies or yogurt.
Guarana is safe. I've added it to some of my products. But it's powerful. I recommend limiting your dose to about 5 mg per day. And it may have blood-thinning effects. Check with your doctor if you're taking aspirin or prescription blood thinners like Warfarin or Plavix.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS