Sept. 27, 2022 -- Drinking two to three cups of coffee daily may contribute to a longer life and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, new research suggests..
The benefits were seen whether people drank ground, instant, or decaffeinated coffee, but ground and instant also appear to offer protection against an irregular heartbeat.
“Daily coffee intake should not be discouraged by physicians but rather considered part of a healthy diet,” Peter M. Kistler, MD, PhD, of the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia says.
“This study supports that coffee is safe and even potentially beneficial, which is consistent with most of the prior evidence,” says Carl "Chip" Lavie, MD, who wasn’t involved in the study.
“We do not prescribe coffee to patients, but for the majority who like coffee, they can be encouraged it is fine to take a few cups daily,” said Lavie, with the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in Louisiana.
The study was published online today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
Clear Cardiovascular Benefits
A total of 449,563 participants in the U.K. Biobank, which tracks half a million patients on a variety of topics, reported how much coffee they drank daily and their preferred type of coffee.
During more than 12.5 years of follow up, 6.2% of participants died.
Drinking 1 to 5 cups each day of ground or instant coffee (but not decaffeinated coffee) was linked to a significant reduction in irregular heartbeat.
Those who regularly drink up to 5 cups per day saw significant reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn't drink coffee. Coffee also appeared to be linked to a lower risk of heart disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
Coffee, especially decaf, appeared to lower the risk of death from any cause during the study period.
However, with the observational design, it’s unclear “which direction the relationship goes, e.g., does coffee make you healthy or do inherently healthier people consume coffee? Randomized, controlled trials are needed to fully understand the relationship between coffee and health before recommendations can be made,” Charlotte Mills, PhD, University of Reading, told the U.K. nonprofit Science Media Centre.
Annette Creedon, PhD, nutrition scientist with the British Nutrition Foundation, said it’s possible that respondents over- or under-estimated the amount of coffee that they were consuming at the start of the study.
“It is therefore difficult to determine whether the outcomes can be directly associated with the behaviors in coffee consumption reported at the start of the study,” she told the Science Media Centre.