Drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease

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New research suggests that drinking 2-3 cups of ground coffee a day can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and increase your life expectancy. Getty Images
  • One study found a link between coffee consumption and longer lifespan.
  • It also found that coffee was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Two to three cups a day seemed like the sweet spot for these benefits.
  • Experts say moderate coffee consumption can be part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • They note, however, that too much coffee can increase the risk of adverse effects.

New research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found an association between coffee consumption and living longer.

The study also revealed that there was a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Specifically, this effect was observed in those who drank around two to three cups of coffee per day.

All types of coffee, including ground, instant, and decaffeinated, seemed to offer this health benefit.

According to the authors, the aim of the study was to examine how the consumption of different types of coffee could impact the risk of episodes of irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), cardiovascular disease and death.

To conduct the study, the researchers used data from the UK Biobank, a large ongoing study that provides researchers with medical and genetic data from around 500,000 volunteers aged 40 to 69.

The median age of those involved in the study was 58 years old. Women made up 55.3% of the group.

The types of cardiovascular disease included were coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and ischemic stroke.

A total of 449,564 people who did not suffer from arrhythmia or cardiovascular disease at the start of the study were recruited.

Respondents were asked about the number of cups of coffee they drank daily, as well as the type of coffee they drank. They were then categorized based on their level of consumption. There was also a group of non-coffee drinkers for comparison.

Medical records and death records were used to assess how the groups fared over time.

Researchers found during follow-up that all types of coffee were associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause. Additionally, the greatest risk reduction was seen in those who drank two to three cups a day.

Ground coffee was linked to the greatest risk reduction, with a 27% lower chance of death than those who did not drink coffee.

Instant coffee provided the least risk reduction at 11%. However, all types of coffee seemed to offer some protection.

Regarding cardiovascular disease, all types of coffee were linked to a reduction in cardiovascular events. This effect was also observed at a consumption level of two to three cups per day.

Ground coffee again provided the greatest risk reduction at 20%, while decaffeinated provided the least reduction at 6%.

Instant coffee and ground coffee were associated with fewer incidents of arrhythmia. However, deca does not seem to provide any benefit. The lowest level of risk was seen at four to five cups of ground coffee, while the effect was seen at a consumption level of two to three cups of instant coffee.

Dr. Debabrata Mukherjee, chair of the department of internal medicine and professor of internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, who was not involved in this study, summarized, “This and other available data suggest that consumption of modest amounts of coffee (two to three cups per day) of all types has cardioprotective effects.

Mukherjee said that while the study itself doesn’t address this issue, it could be related to the presence of caffeine in coffee.

“Caffeine has antiarrhythmic properties,” Mukherjee said, “particularly through inhibition of adenosine receptors (a chemical present in human cells). Endogenous adenosine shortens refractory periods both in the auricle (upper chamber of the heart) and in the ventricle (lower chamber of the heart) and therefore increases the risk of arrhythmias; and by blocking adenosine receptors, coffee containing caffeine can lessen the effects of endogenous adenosine (present in the body) and protect against arrhythmias.

He said this could explain why caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee affected the incidence of arrhythmias differently in this study.

Mukherjee further noted that although caffeine is the most well-known constituent of coffee, it actually contains over 100 biologically active components.

“It is possible that some of the non-caffeinated compounds are responsible for the benefits seen with coffee consumption, i.e. less cardiovascular disease and better survival,” he explained.

Dr. Jim Liu, a cardiologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, advises drinking coffee in moderation, noting that it’s generally safe and also has potential benefits for long-term cardiovascular health.

“However, coffee is a stimulant,” he warns, “and can have short-term effects such as increased blood pressure and palpitations.”

“If someone is drinking excessive amounts or to such an extent that they feel unwell due to bothersome palpitations, sleep deprivation or other adverse effects, it would be best to reduce their intake,” he added. .

He also advises people to know what they add to their coffee, such as sugar. “Some coffee drinks and preparations contain large amounts of sugar and are high in calories, and consuming a lot of them can counteract the benefits of the coffee itself.”

However, when it comes to people who are not yet drinking coffee, Mr Liu said he would advise people to drink it only if they want to or enjoy it.

“Granted, drinking coffee has been linked to other health benefits, but if coffee drinking isn’t for you, I wouldn’t force it just for the health benefits.”

If you choose to drink coffee in light of its potential health benefits, Liu pointed out that there are some side effects to be aware of.

“Coffee is a stimulant and can cause short-term effects such as increased blood pressure and palpitations. It can also have adverse effects on sleep,” he said.

If you are taking medication for high blood pressure, there could also be concerns. Caffeine can reduce the effect of some blood pressure medications, Liu said.

Mukherjee agreed with Liu’s statements, noting that “all types [of coffee] have cardioprotective effects and can be enjoyed as part of heart-healthy behavior.

“I would suggest that people enjoy their coffee or tea (depending on their preference) and live a healthy life,” he said.

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