In a new study, researchers found that drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee may reduce heart failure risk.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Colorado.
Coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke are among the top causes of death from heart disease in the U.S.
While smoking, age and high blood pressure are among the most well-known heart disease risk factors, there are still unidentified risk factors for heart disease.
The risks and benefits of drinking coffee have been topics of ongoing scientific interest due to the popularity and frequency of consumption worldwide.
In the study, the team used machine learning to examine data from the Framingham Heart Study and referenced it against data from other two big health studies to help confirm their findings.
Each study included at least 10 years of follow-up, and, collectively, the studies provided information on more than 21,000 U.S. adult participants.
The researchers found that In all three studies, people who drank one or more cups of caffeinated coffee had a decreased long-term heart failure risk.
In the Framingham Heart and the Cardiovascular Health studies, the risk of heart failure over the course of decades decreased by 5-to-12% per cup per day of coffee, compared with no coffee consumption.
In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the risk of heart failure did not change between 0 to 1 cup per day of coffee; however, it was about 30% lower in people who drank at least 2 cups a day.
Drinking decaffeinated coffee appeared to have an opposite effect on heart failure risk – strongly increasing the risk of heart failure in the Framingham Heart Study.
In the Cardiovascular Health Study, however, there was no increase or decrease in risk of heart failure associated with drinking decaffeinated coffee.
When the researchers examined this further, they found caffeine consumption from any source appeared to be linked to decreased heart failure risk, and caffeine was at least part of the reason for the apparent benefit from drinking more coffee.
The team says coffee and caffeine are often considered to be ‘bad’ for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc.
The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head.
However, there is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to decrease the risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as stopping smoking, losing weight, or exercising.
According to the federal dietary guidelines, three to five 8-ounce cups of coffee per day can be part of a healthy diet, but that only refers to plain black coffee.