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According to studies presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st Annual Scientific Session, drinking two or three cups of coffee a day may benefit the heart.
The American College of Cardiology said Thursday that drinking the caffeinated drink is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms, as well as a longer lifespan.
The trends also held true for people with and without cardiovascular disease, with the researchers saying the analyzes ensure coffee is not linked to new or worsening heart disease.
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Using data from the UK BioBank database of over half a million people followed for at least a decade, the researchers looked at different levels of coffee consumption, ranging from one cup to over six cups per day and the relationship to heart rhythm problems, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and total heart-related deaths in people with and without cardiovascular disease.
Patients were sorted by the amount of coffee they reported drinking each day, from zero to more than five, and coffee consumption was determined based on questionnaires.
Overall, the researchers found no impact or significant reductions in cardiovascular risk after controlling for exercise, alcohol, smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
In the first study, researchers looked at data from 382,535 people without known heart disease to see if coffee consumption played a role in the development of heart disease or stroke over 10 years.
In general, drinking two to three cups a day provided the greatest benefit, including a 10-15% reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart rhythm problems, or dying.
The risk of stroke or heart-related death was lowest for those who drank a cup of coffee.
A second study included 34,279 people with some form of cardiovascular disease.
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Drinking two to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower risk of death compared to no coffee, and drinking any amount of coffee was not associated with a lower risk. high heart rhythm problems.
For people with arrhythmia, coffee consumption was also associated with a lower risk of death.
The third study looked at whether there were any differences in the relationship between coffee and cardiovascular disease depending on whether someone drank instant or ground coffee or caffeinated or decaffeinated.
Again, researchers found that two to three cups were associated with the lowest risk of arrhythmia, blocked arteries, stroke, or heart failure, whether the coffee was ground or instant.
Decaffeinated coffee had no favorable effects against incident arrhythmia but reduced cardiovascular diseases, except heart failure.
Limitations of the studies include that the researchers were unable to control dietary factors or adapt to creams or milk and sugar.
Additionally, participants were predominantly white and coffee consumption was based on self-report.
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“Because coffee can make the heart beat faster, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart problems. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But our data suggests that daily coffee consumption should not be discouraged, but rather included as part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” said Dr. Peter Kistler, Professor and Head of Arrhythmia Research Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute and lead author of the study, in a statement, “We found that drinking coffee had either a neutral effect, that is, it did no harm, or was associated with heart health benefits.”
Kistler said the results should be validated in randomized trials.