Drinking coffee benefits the heart and can lead to longer life: Study

2022-04-19 22:17:43
Drinking coffee benefits the heart and can lead to longer life: Study

Contrary to worries among some doctors and the public, drinking coffee may actually protect your heart instead of causing or worsening heart problems.

Drinking two to three cups of coffee daily has been associated with a 10% to 15% lower risk of getting heart disease, heart failure or a heart rhythm problem, or dying early for any reason, according to three research abstracts published Thursday.

"Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from," Dr. Peter M. Kistler, the study's senior author, said in a statement.

Kistler is head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and head of electrophysiology at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

"We found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect -- meaning that it did no harm -- or was associated with benefits to heart health," said Kistler, a leading arrhythmia expert who is also a professor of medicine at both the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

For all the studies, Kistler and the other researchers used data from UK Biobank, which follows the health outcomes of more than 500,000 people for at least 10 years. When joining the registry, participants reported where their coffee consumption fell on a range from up to a cup to six cups or more daily.

The authors of the current research wanted to examine the relationship between coffee drinking and heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke; and total and heart-related deaths among people with and without heart disease.

Coffee drinking and heart health

The first study focused on more than 382,500 adults who didn't have heart disease and were age 57 on average. Participants who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had the lowest risk for later developing the heart problems the study focused on, the researchers found. People who drank roughly one cup of coffee per day had the lowest risk of having stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease.

Another study looked into the relationships between different types of coffee -- caffeinated ground, caffeinated instant and decaffeinated -- and the same health outcomes. Whether the decaf coffee was ground or instant wasn't specified, Kistler said via email. "I suppose there may have been a perception that less expensive 'instant' coffee may be less beneficial than 'ground' coffee which might be seen as 'purer,' but this was not the case in our study," he added.

Drinking one to five cups of ground or instant coffee a day was linked with lower risks of having arrhythmia, heart disease or failure, or stroke. Drinking two to three cups of any type of coffee every day was associated with a lower risk of dying early or from heart disease.

Participants analyzed in a third study were those who already had arrhythmia or a type of cardiovascular disease. For people with cardiovascular disease, no level of coffee intake was found to be linked with developing arrhythmia. Of the adults with arrhythmia, coffee intake -- especially of one cup per day -- was associated with a lesser risk of premature death.


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