Due to the global love of coffee, scientific interest in the benefits of drawbacks of drinking this cup of ‘liquid gold’ has only increased. Though many of us rely on our morning cuppa to get us going, perhaps you’re wondering if it’s good for you. Though nothing in excess is wise, drinking coffee as a potential aid for common health issues has undergone significant research over the last few years.
The impact of coffee on heart disease is of particular interest - in the latest updates from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1.2 million Australians were hospitalised with cardiovascular disease (CVD). In 2018, more than one in four deaths were due to CVD.
Three large and well-known studies of heart disease show evidence that drinking one of more coffees per day can help reduce heart failure risk.
Three studies were analysed:
- Framingham Heart Study
- Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study
- Cardiovascular Health Study
In each study there was:
- Ten years of follow up
- More than 21,000 adult participants
- Coffee consumption was self-reported
What did the analysis reveal?
Across the three studies, people reporting drinking one or more coffees had decrease in long-term heart failure risk.
Compared with being caffeine-free, it appears caffeinated folk had a 5-12% decrease in heart failure risk over the span of decades (Framingham Heart and the Cardiovascular Health studies)
Risk of heart failure also decreased in people who drank at least 2 cups per day in a different study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study)
Strangely, drinking decaf coffee in one study (Framingham Heart) suggested the opposite effect - ‘significantly increasing the risk of heart failure’. In the Cardiovascular Health Study though there was no difference to be noted.
Of course - you need to take note that these studies refer to black coffee only - not the sugar and milk-laden kinds! Children should avoid caffeine and of course, excess caffeine is to be warned against - you need to find your sweet spot! For most, this appears to be one to three cups per day.
Study limitations to note:
- Individual recordings means there will be variances in reporting.
- Differing types of coffee consumed (e.g. origin of the coffee beans, filtered or unlfitered, espresso or French press).
- Variability in unit measurement per cup.
- The original studies only refer to coffee, not energy drinks, caffeinated teas and other products containing coffee.
Though official recommendations can't yet include coffee consumption as advice alongside quitting smoking, exercise or losing weight, the evidence for heart health is promising. Keep your caffeine consumption to a moderate amount, and enjoy it alongside your healthy lifestyle. Not only can it help give you a kickstart in the morning, but provides extra energy for those tough workout sessions and the mental focus you need to achieve your goals.
Bottoms Up! Our Most Popular Coffees:
Laura M. Stevens, Erik Linstead, Jennifer L. Hall, David P. Kao. Association Between Coffee Intake and Incident Heart Failure Risk. Circulation: Heart Failure, 2021; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCHEARTFAILURE.119.006799
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). Cardiovascular disease. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/heart-stroke-vascular-diseases/cardiovascular-health-compendium