Coffee Reduces Risk of Heart Failure

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Research shows coffee reduces risk of heart failure
Source: Pixabay

According to research, drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee can reduce your risk of heart failure.

Whether you’re a student trying to make it through college, an overworked employee, or a stay-at-home parent, chances are you start your day with a cup of coffee. And if you’re someone who drinks more than one cup a day, you’ve probably heard people telling you it’s bad for you. That’s because the caffeine in coffee is known to cause anxiety, disrupt sleep, and raise your blood pressure. However, a recently published study has now shown that drinking caffeinated coffee can reduce heart failure risk in individuals.

The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising. Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population 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.

Dr. David P. Kao, M.D., senior author of the study

Although deaths from coronary heart disease and strokes have decreased over time, the incidence and health loss burden of heart failure continues to rise. Moreover, there is little information on the dietary risk factors associated with heart failure. Therefore, Dr. David Kao and his team at the University of Colorado School of Medicine analyzed three major heart-disease trials using machine learning. They aimed to identify potential risk factors of coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke.

The clinical trials analyzed included: Framingham Heart Study (FHS), the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARCC), and the Cardiovascular Health Study. Each study followed participants for at least 10 years. And collectively over 21,000 adults were part of the analysis. Coffee consumption was categorized into 0, 1, 2, and 3 cups per day.

Caffeinated Coffee Better Than Decaf

Using machine learning methods, researchers identified several dietary and behavioral risk factors of heart failure, stroke, and coronary heart disease. These included marital status, red meat consumption, coffee consumption, and milk consumption.

Compared to no coffee consumption, both Framingham and Cardiovascular Health Study showed a 5-12% reduced risk of heart failure per cup of coffee per day. On the other hand, the ARCC showed no change in heart failure risk between those who drank zero and 1 cup of coffee per day. However, when compared to those who drank more than 2 cups of coffee per day, the risk of heart failure reduced by 30%. Furthermore, in FHS decaffeinated coffee showed an opposite effect; increasing the risk.

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.

Dr. David P. Kao, M.D., senior author of the study

Although the study links coffee consumption with reduced heart failure risk, the mechanism behind it is unclear. However, researchers believe results from FHS point to caffeine playing a significant role.

The authors of the study point out the limitations of the study. For one, they did not include the differences in methods of coffee preparation. A factor that can affect how strong a cup of coffee is. Moreover, it is unclear whether the findings of the study can also be applied to other caffeinated drinks; such as energy drinks, sodas, and teas.

Reference:

Stevens, L. M., Linstead, E., Hall, J. L., & Kao, D. P. (2021). Association between coffee intake and incident heart failure risk. Circulation: Heart Failure. doi:10.1161/circheartfailure.119.006799

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