According to studies presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st Annual Scientific Session, drinking two to three cups of coffee daily is associated with a decreased risk of developing heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms, as well as an increased lifespan.
The researchers say the findings reaffirm that coffee is not associated with new or worsening heart disease and may actually be beneficial to the heart.
“Because coffee can increase heart rate, some people fear that drinking it may cause or exacerbate certain heart problems. This is where general medical advice to abstain from coffee consumption may originate. However, our findings suggest that daily coffee consumption should not be discouraged, but rather included as part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” says senior author Peter M. Kistler, MD, professor and head of arrhythmia research at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute.
“We discovered that coffee consumption had either a neutral effect, meaning it did no harm, or was associated with heart health benefits.”
Kistler and his colleagues analysed data from the UK BioBank, a large prospective database that contains health information on over 500,000 people who were followed for at least ten years.
The first study examined data from 382,535 individuals without known heart disease to determine whether coffee consumption contributed to the development of heart disease or stroke over a ten-year period.
In general, drinking two to three cups of coffee per day provided the greatest benefit, implying a 10% to 15% reduction in the risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying for any reason.
The second study enrolled 34,279 individuals who had been diagnosed with a form of cardiovascular disease. Two to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a lower risk of death when compared to no coffee.
“Coffee drinkers should take comfort in the fact that they can continue to enjoy coffee despite having heart disease. Coffee is the most frequently used cognitive enhancer; it wakes you up, sharpens your mind, and is an integral part of many people’s daily lives,” Kistler explains.