Drinking coffee—particularly two to three cups a day—is not only associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms but also with living longer, according to new studies.
These trends held true for both people with and without cardiovascular disease. Researchers said the analyses—the largest to look at coffee’s potential role in heart disease and death—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,” said 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.
Benefitting the heart
Researchers looked at varying levels of coffee consumption ranging from up to a cup to more than six cups a day and the relationship with heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke; and total and heart-related deaths among people both with and without cardiovascular disease. Patients were grouped by how much coffee they reported drinking each day: 0, <1, 1, 2-3, 4-5, >5 cups/day.
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