Pouring a cup of coffee

A new study shows that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a longer life and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is associated with longer life and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to abstaining from coffee. This is according to a new study published on September 27 European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, Journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The findings of increased longevity were applied to ground, instant and decaffeinated varieties of coffee.

“In this large follow-up study, ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease or death from any cause,” said study author Professor Peter Kistler, from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute. He is an international leader in cardiac arrhythmia research in Melbourne, Australia. “The results suggest that drinking light to moderate, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”

All types of coffee were associated with a reduction in death from any cause in the study. The maximum risk reduction is two to three cups per day, with ground coffee providing the greatest benefit. Drinking two to three cups of ground coffee a day is associated with a 27% lower risk of death and a 20% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Previously, little was known about the effects of various coffee preparations on heart health and survival. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between types of coffee and risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease and death in adults aged 40 to 69 using data from the UK Biobank. Cardiovascular disease includes heart disease, heart failure, and ischemic stroke.

Included in the study were 449,563 participants free of arrhythmias or other cardiovascular disease. The mean age of the participants was 58 years and 55.3% were women. The questionnaire was completed by participants, asking how many cups of coffee they drank each day and whether they drank instant, ground (such as cappuccino or filtered coffee), or decaffeinated coffee. Additionally, they were categorized into six daily intake categories that included one, one, two to three, four to five, and more than five cups per day. The usual type of coffee was consumed in 198,062 (44.1%) participants, ground in 82,575 (18.4%), and decaffeinated in 68,416 (15.2%). Coffee drinkers who served as the comparison group comprised 100,510 (22.4%) participants.

Coffee drinkers were compared for cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia, and death after adjusting for age, ethnicity, gender, obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, smoking status, obstructive sleep apnea, and consumption of tea and alcohol. Outcome data were obtained from medical records and death records. The median follow-up was 12.5 years.

A total of 27,809 (6.2%) participants died during follow-up. All subtypes of coffee have been associated with reduced mortality from any cause. Two to three cups a day showed the highest risk reduction, which reduced the risk of death by 14%, 27% and 11% of caffeine loss, ground and instant preparations compared to drinking coffee.

During follow-up, cardiovascular disease was detected in 43,173 (9.6%) participants. All types of coffee have been associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease. Again, the lowest risk was observed for two to three cups per day, which compared to abstinence from coffee, with 6%, 20% and 9% lower risk of cardiovascular disease with caffeine, grinding and instant coffee.

Arrhythmia was detected in 30,100 (6.7%) participants during follow-up. Ground and instant coffee, but not decaf, has been linked to a reduction in arteriosclerosis, including atrial fibrillation. Compared to non-drinkers, the lowest risks were 17 percent and 12 percent lower for those who consumed four to five cups of ground coffee per day and two to three cups of instant coffee per day.

“Caffeine is the most well-known ingredient in coffee, but the drink contains more than 100 biologically active compounds,” Professor Kiesler said. Caffeine-free compounds may be responsible for the positive association between coffee consumption, cardiovascular disease and survival. Our findings suggest that moderate consumption of all types of coffee should not be discouraged but may be enjoyed as a heart-healthy behavior.

Reference: “Effects of coffee subtypes on risk of cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias and death: Long-term results from the UK Biobank” by David Ching, Rodrigo Canovas, Louise Segan, Hariharan Sugumar, Alexander Voskoboynik, Sandeep Prabhu, Liang Han Ling, Jeffrey Lee, Joseph B. Morton, David M. Kay, Jonathan M. Kalman, and Peter M. Kiesler, 27 September 2022; European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
DOI: 10.1093/eurjpc/zwac189

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