Contrary to the concerns of some quarters and even users, drinking coffee may actually be protecting our hearts, rather than causing or worsening heart problems.
A team of researchers has analyzed data from nearly 400,000 people in their 50s who did not have heart disease. Follow-up was carried out for 10 years. They found that, in general, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day was best for heart health. Participants had a 10 to 15 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat or dying of any reason within a decade thanks to their cups of coffee.
Same thing with decaf?
While the benefits were maintained regardless of whether the participants drank instant or ground coffee, decaf did not produce the same health benefits.
“Because coffee can speed up the heart rate, some people worry that drinking it might trigger or worsen certain heart problems. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee can come from. But our data suggest that daily coffee consumption should not be discouraged, but should be included as part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” said Peter M. Kistler, MD, professor and director of arrhythmia research at Alfred Hospital. and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and lead author of one of the studies. “We found that drinking coffee had a neutral effect, meaning it did not cause harm, or was associated with heart health benefits.”
Overall, the researchers found a U-shaped relationship with coffee intake and heart rhythm problems. The greatest benefit was seen among people who drank two to three cups of coffee a day, and less benefit was seen among those who drank more or less.
The team noted that their findings did not take into account the participants’ diet, which may play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease, or whether they added cream, milk or sugar to their drink.
Reference: The study, “Effects of Habitual Coffee Consumption on Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Arrhythmia, and Mortality: Findings from UK BioBank,” will be presented on Sunday, April 3, at 10:00 am ET / 14:00 UTC in Prevention and Health Promotion Moderator Poster Theater 4, Hall C.
The second related study, “Regular Coffee Intake is Associated with Improved Mortality in Prevalent Cardiovascular Disease,” will be presented virtually on Saturday, April 2, at 8:30 am ET / 12:30 UTC.
The third related study, “Ground, Instant, or Decaffeinated Coffee? Impact of Different Coffee Subtypes on Incident Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality,” will be presented on Sunday, April 3, at 10:00 am ET / 14:00 UTC in Electrophysiology Moderated Poster Theater 7, Hall C.