Coffee Drinking Linked to Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

A large observational study from the European Society of Cardiology suggests that drinking two or three cups of coffee daily is associated with a longer lifespan and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology examined the associations between subtypes of coffee and incident arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, and death using data from the UK Biobank.

The research included 449,563 participants aged 40 to 69 who were free of arrhythmias or other cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and ischaemic stroke at baseline. The median age of participants was 58 years, and 55.3% were women.

In the study, participants completed a questionnaire asking how many cups of coffee they drank each day and what subtype of coffee they usually drank — instant, ground (such as cappuccino or filtered coffee), or decaffeinated.

Research then compared coffee drinkers 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.

Researchers obtained outcome information from medical and death records; the median follow-up was 12.5 years.

A study found that all subtypes of coffee were linked with a reduction in death from any cause and incidence of cardiovascular disease, with the most significant reduction seen in those consuming two or three cups per day. Ground coffee was associated with the lowest risk.

Meanwhile, ground and instant coffee, but not decaffeinated, was associated with a reduction in arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation, compared to non-drinkers.

“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle,” study author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia, said in a press release.

The authors note several limitations of the study, such as reporting bias, because the coffee intake was based on participant self-reporting. Moreover, it is possible that participants consumed more than one subtype of coffee during the research period.

Researchers say the detection of certain arrhythmias may be missed in the absence of routine monitoring. And because the UK Biobank predominantly includes the Caucasian population, the findings may not be entirely applicable to other ethnicities.

There are other studies suggesting the benefits of coffee. For example, research from 2018, published in the peer-reviewed journal Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine, concluded that a daily intake of 2–3 cups of coffee or tea appears safe across a broad range of cardiovascular conditions. Moreover, it may even be beneficial for diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis, heart failure, arrhythmia, and total mortality.

Another study from 2017 included more than 521 300 participants from 10 European countries. It suggests that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of death from various causes, particularly digestive and circulatory diseases.

Resources:

European Society of Cardiology. Coffee drinking is associated with increased longevity.

European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The impact of coffee subtypes on incident cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and mortality: long-term outcomes from the UK Biobank.

Science Direct. Cardiovascular effects of caffeinated beverages.

Annals of Internal Medicine. Coffee Drinking and Mortality in 10 European Countries.

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