New Study: Coffee Leads to Healthier Heart, Longer Life
Another salvo has been launched in the long-percolating debate over the benefits and risks of consuming coffee, with new scientific evidence of improved circulation and extended life falling solidly on the side — of coffee beans, whether ground, instant or even decaffeinated.
Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a longer lifespan, when compared with avoiding coffee, according to research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology.
“In this large, observational study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” said study author Prof. Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. “The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”
“Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components,” Kistler said. “It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival.”
There is little information on the impact preparing coffee differently has on heart health and survival. The current research examined the associations between types of coffee and incident arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease and death using data from the U.K. Biobank, which recruited adults nearly 500,000 participants between 40 and 69 years of age. Cardiovascular disease was identified as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and ischaemic stroke.
The study included 449,563 individuals free of arrhythmias or other cardiovascular disease at baseline. The median age was 58 years and 55.3% were women. Study subjects completed a questionnaire asking how many cups of coffee they drank each day and whether they usually drank instant, ground — such as cappuccino or filtered coffee — or decaffeinated coffee.
The participants were then grouped into six daily intake categories, consisting of none, less than one, one, two to three, four to five, and more than five cups per day. The usual coffee types were instant with 198,062 (44.1 percent) participants, ground with 82,575 (18.4 percent) and decaffeinated with 68,416 (15.2 percent). There were also 100,510 (22.4 percent) non-coffee drinkers who served as the control group.
Coffee drinkers were compared to non-drinkers for the incidence of arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease and death, after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, smoking status, and tea and alcohol consumption. Outcome information was obtained from medical records and death records. The median follow-up was 12.5 years.
Over the duration of the study,
27,809 (6.2 percent) participants died during follow up. All types of coffee were linked with a reduction in death from any cause, with the greatest risk reduction observed with two to three cups per day, which, compared to no coffee drinking, was associated with a 14 percent, 27 percent and 11 percent less likelihood of death for drinkers of decaffeinated, ground and instant preparations, respectively.
Cardiovascular disease was diagnosed in 43,173 (9.6 percent) of the participants during follow up. All coffee subtypes were associated with a reduction in incident cardiovascular disease, while, again, the lowest risk was observed with two to three cups a day — which compared to abstinence from coffee was associated with a 6 percent, 20 percent and 9 percent reduced likelihood of cardiovascular disease for decaffeinated, ground, instant coffee, respectively.
An arrhythmia was diagnosed in 30,100 (6.7 percent) participants during follow up. Ground and instant coffee, but not decaffeinated, was associated with a reduction in arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation.
Compared with non-coffee drinkers, the lowest risks were observed with four to five cups a day for ground coffee and two to three cups a day for instant coffee, with 17 percent and 12 percent reduced risks, respectively.
Said Kistler: “Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart-healthy behavior.”