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Daily coffee may decrease heart failure risk

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A meta-analysis of three big, well-known heart disease studies discovered that drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day was associated with a reduced risk of heart failure.

Decaffeinated coffee, on the other hand, did not provide the same benefit and may be linked to an increased risk of heart failure.

Increased coffee consumption does not yet have the same power and certainty as quitting smoking, decreasing weight, or exercising in terms of lowering the risk of heart disease.

According to research published in Circulation: Heart Failure, dietary data from three big, well-known heart disease studies suggests that having one or more cups of caffeinated coffee can lower heart failure risk.

In the United States, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke are among the leading causes of death from heart disease.

“While smoking, age and high blood pressure are among the most well-known heart disease risk factors, unidentified risk factors for heart disease remain,” says David P. Kao, senior author of the study.

“The risks and benefits of drinking coffee have been topics of ongoing scientific interest due to the popularity and frequency of consumption worldwide,” adds Linda Van Horn. “Studies reporting associations with outcomes remain relatively limited due to inconsistencies in diet assessment and analytical methodologies, as well as inherent problems with self-reported dietary intake.”

Kao and colleagues examined data from the Framingham Heart Study’s initial cohort and compared it to data from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study and the Cardiovascular Health Study to corroborate their findings. Each study had a minimum of ten years of follow-up, and the studies gathered data on over 21,000 adult participants in the United States.

Researchers divided caffeinated coffee use into four categories: 0 cups per day, 1 cup per day, 2 cups per day, and 3 cups per day. Coffee intake was self-reported in all three investigations, and no standard unit of measurement was available.

The team found:

  • People who said they drank one or more cups of caffeinated coffee had a lower long-term risk of heart failure in all three studies.
  • In the Framingham Heart and Cardiovascular Health studies, coffee drinking reduced the risk of heart failure by 5-to-12 percent over the course of decades when compared to no coffee use.
  • The risk of heart failure did not vary between 0 and 1 cup of coffee per day in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, but it was around 30 percent lower in persons who consumed at least 2 cups per day.
  • In the Framingham Heart Study, drinking decaffeinated coffee had the reverse effect on heart failure risk, considerably increasing the risk of heart failure. However, there was no increase or decrease in the incidence of heart failure related with drinking decaffeinated coffee in the Cardiovascular Health Study. When the researchers looked into it further, they discovered that caffeine consumption from any source was linked to a lower risk of heart failure, and that caffeine was at least part of the rationale for the apparent benefit of drinking more coffee.

According to the government dietary guidelines, three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day can be part of a healthy diet, but this only applies to plain black coffee. Popular coffee-based drinks like lattes and macchiatos, according to the American Heart Association, are generally rich in calories, added sugar, and fat. Caffeine, despite its benefits, has been demonstrated in studies to be hazardous if eaten in excess. Caffeine should also be avoided by children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children avoid caffeine-containing beverages in general.

The bottom line

Coffee should be consumed in moderation as part of a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/non-fat dairy products, as well as reduced salt, saturated fat, and added sugars. It’s also crucial to remember that caffeine is a stimulant, and consuming too much of it can lead to jitteriness and sleep issues.

The study’s limitations, which may have influenced the analysis’s conclusions, included variations in how coffee consumption was reported and the type of coffee consumption.

Coffee styles such as drip, percolated, French press, or espresso, as well as the provenance of the beans and whether the coffee was filtered or unfiltered, were not indicated.

There could also have been some variation in the unit measurement for 1 cup of coffee (i.e., how many ounces per cup). Caffeine levels may differ as a result of these factors.

Furthermore, because the original studies only looked at caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, the findings may not apply to energy drinks, caffeinated teas, soda, and other caffeine-containing foods like chocolate.

Source: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006799

Image Credit: Getty

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