- The impact of caffeine consumption on health has been widely debated in the medical field and society in general
- A new study reveals that consuming coffee can be beneficial
- It found that drinking more than one cup a day can lower one's risk of heart failure
The risks and benefits associated with coffee consumption have long been debated in research papers, making coffee a controversial topic in studies of health and medicine.
A recent study gives reasons as to why having an occasional cup of your favourite brew might not be that bad for you, and especially your heart.
“While smoking, age and high blood pressure are among the most well-known heart disease risk factors, unidentified risk factors for heart disease remain,” said Professor David P. Kao, senior author of the study.
In order to investigate how risk factors for heart disease may be decreased, Kao and his colleagues conducted an analysis across three well-known heart studies: the FHS (Framingham Heart Study), CHS (Cardiovascular Heart Study), and the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities).
Findings were published in Circulation: Heart Failure, one of the American Heart Association’s journals.
Behavioural and dietary factors
The researchers used machine learning to identify risk factors associated with heart disease and found that marital status, red meat consumption, whole milk consumption, and coffee consumption all influenced outcomes related to heart disease.
They found that across all three studies, an increase in caffeinated coffee consumption was associated with a reduced long-term risk of heart failure.
One, two or three cups a day?
The researchers categorised participants’ coffee consumption according to whether they drank one cup, two cups or three cups per day, and found that while one cup did not make a significant difference to heart failure risk, two cups decreased the risk of heart failure by 30%.
They also found that drinking decaffeinated coffee had the opposite effect (Framingham Heart Study), as it appeared to increase the potential risk of heart failure.
“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,” said Penny M. Kris-Etherton, chairperson of the American Heart Association's Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council Leadership Committee.
Kris-Etherton went on to say: “The bottom line: enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern. Also, it is important to be mindful that caffeine is a stimulant, and consuming too much may be problematic – causing jitteriness and sleep problems.”
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