A new study has shown that drinking two to three cups of most coffee types per day may help you avoid cardiovascular disease and early death.
“The results suggest that moderate to moderate consumption of instant, ground, and decaffeinated espresso should be considered part and parcel of a healthy lifestyle,” stated Peter Kistler (head of clinical electrophysiology research at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and Alfred Hospital in Melbourne).
Researchers found that all three types had significant reductions in the risk of stroke, congestive cardiac failure, and coronary heart disease. Only instant and ground coffee with caffeine decreased the risk of irregular heartbeats called arrhythmia. According to Wednesday’s study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, decaffeinated coffee did nothing to lower this risk.
Studies in the past have also shown that moderate amounts of black tea — 3 to 5 cups per day — can lower your risk of developing heart disease.
“This manuscript contributes to the body of evidence in observational trials associating moderate caffeine consumption with cardioprotection,” stated Charlotte Mills, a lecturer on nutritional sciences at the University of Reading, the UK in a statement.
Mills said that this study, as many others in the past was observational and could not prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship.
She asked, “Does coffee make me healthier or does it make me more healthy?” To prove the connection between coffee and cardiovascular disease, randomized controlled trials are required.
Ground caffeinated coffee has the lowest risk
This study was based on data from the UK Biobank. It is a research database that contains the coffee preferences of nearly 450,000 adults. They were divided into four categories: caffeinated, decaffeinated, caffeinated, instant, and non-caffeinated.
Researchers looked at death and medical records to find reports of stroke, arrhythmia, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease after an average of 12.5 years. After accounting for factors such as age, ethnicity and high blood pressure, obesity and obstructive sleeping apnea (obstructive sleep apnea), sex, smoking status, tea, and alcohol intake, researchers discovered that all types of coffee are linked to a decrease in death from any cause.
In a statement, Duane Mellor, a senior teaching fellow at Aston University Medical School, Birmingham, said that the fact that both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee was beneficial “might suggest it is not just the caffeine which could explain any associated reductions in risk.” He was not part of the study.
Kistler, who is a professor of medicine at Monash University and the University of Melbourne, said that although caffeine is the most widely known component of coffee, the beverage has more than 100 biologically active ingredients.
Kistler stated that non-caffeinated substances may be responsible for the positive associations observed between coffee consumption, survival, and cardiovascular disease.
According to the study, drinking two to three cups of coffee per day is associated with a greater risk of early death than those who drink no coffee. The risk of death was 27% lower for ground coffee, followed by 14% and 11% for instant caffeinated.
Not as strong was the link between coffee and a lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Drinking two to three cups of ground coffee per day lowered the risk by 20%. Consuming the same amount of instant coffee reduced risk by 6%, and instant coffee by 9%.
Data changed regarding coffee’s effect on an irregular heartbeat. A statement stated that drinking four to five cups of caffeinated ground espresso per day reduced risk by 17%, while instant coffee of two to three cups per day decreased the risk of arrhythmia by about 12%.
More research is needed
The study had a limitation in that coffee consumption was reported at one time. Annette Creedon is a nutrition scientist and manager at British Nutrition Foundation. This foundation is partially funded by food retailers, food producers, and food service companies.
Creedon stated that the median follow-up period for this study was 12.5 years. This means that many aspects of participants’ diets and lifestyles may have changed. She was not a part of the research.
She also said that coffee can have side effects. For example, people with uncontrolled diabetes or sleep problems should consult a doctor before adding coffee to their diet.
Creedon stated that these side effects can be especially relevant for people who are sensitive to caffeine. The findings of this study don’t suggest that people should stop drinking coffee, or that they should increase their intake.
Studies focusing on black coffee’s health benefits do not consider the many processed ingredients that are added to coffee such as creams, sugars, and milk.
Mellor stated that a simple cup of coffee with some milk is quite different from a large latte with syrup and cream.
The way coffee is brewed can have an impact on its health benefits. Cafestol, which is found in coffee’s oily portion, can be caught in filtered coffee. Cafestol may increase bad cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoproteins).
However, using a French coffee press, Turkish coffeemaker, or boiling coffee (as is common in Scandinavian countries) does not remove cafestol.
Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that children should not consume coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other beverage containing caffeine.