Having one or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day may reduce your risk of heart failure, new research suggests.
And decaffeinated coffee does not appear to provide the same protection as caffeine-rich blends.
“The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising,” noted study’s senior author.
Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations and high blood pressure”
However, “the consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head,” said the assistant professor of cardiology and medical director at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His team published their findings on 9 February in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
“There is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to decrease risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as stopping smoking, losing weight or exercising,” he said in a journal news release.
In their study, they analyzed data from more than 21,000 US adults who took part in 3 major studies: the Framingham Heart Study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Participants were followed for at least 10 yrs.
In all 3 studies, drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day was associated with decreased long-term risk of heart failure.
In the Framingham Heart and the Cardiovascular Health studies, the risk of heart failure fell by 5%-12% per cup of coffee each day, compared with having no coffee.
The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found that the risk of heart failure didn’t change with 0 to 1 cup of coffee per day, but was about 30% lower in people who had at least 2 cups a day.
The findings for decaffeinated coffee were different.
The Cardiovascular Health Study found no link between decaf and heart failure risk, while the Framingham Heart Study found that decaf was associated with a significantly higher risk of heart failure.
Further analysis showed that caffeine from any source appeared to be associated with decreased heart failure risk, and that caffeine played at least some role in coffee’s apparent heart benefit, according to the authors.
While unable to prove causality, it is intriguing that these three studies suggest that drinking coffee is associated with a decreased risk of heart failure and that coffee can be part of a healthy dietary pattern if consumed plain, without added sugar and high fat dairy products such as cream.
The bottom line
Enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern that meets recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/nonfat dairy products, and that also is low in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars
Also, it is important to be mindful that caffeine is a stimulant and consuming too much may be problematic. Remember, the darker the bean the less caffeine.
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