According to studies being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71 Annual Scientific Session, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms, and an extended lifespan.
Researchers say the analyses provide reassurance that coffee isn’t tied to new or worsening heart disease and may actually be heart protective.
“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. But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” says Peter M. Kistler, MD, professor, and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and the study’s senior author.
“We found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect, meaning that it did no harm, or was associated with benefits to heart health.”
Kistler and his team used data from the UK BioBank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people who were followed for at least 10 years.
For the first study, researchers examined data from 382,535 individuals without known heart disease to see whether coffee drinking played a role in the development of heart disease or stroke during the 10 years of follow up.
In general, having two to three cups of coffee a day was associated with the greatest benefit, translating to a 10 to 15 per cent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason.
The second study included 34,279 individuals who had some form of cardiovascular disease at baseline. Coffee intake at two to three cups a day was associated with lower odds of dying compared with having no coffee.
“Coffee drinkers should feel reassured that they can continue to enjoy coffee even if they have heart disease. Coffee is the most common cognitive enhancer, it wakes you up, makes you mentally sharper and it’s a very important component of many people’s daily lives,” says Kistler.
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