Drinking this type of coffee to prevent heart problems, study finds

(CNN) — According to a new study, drinking two to three cups a day of most types of coffee can protect against cardiovascular disease and premature death.

“The results suggest that light to moderate consumption of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle,” said study author Peter Kistler, head of research in Clinical Electrophysiology at the Baker Institute of the Heart and Diabetes and Chief of Electrophysiology. at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

The researchers found “significant reductions” in the risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and stroke for all three types of coffee. However, only instant, ground caffeinated coffee reduced the risk of an irregular heartbeat called arrhythmia. Decaffeinated coffee did not reduce this risk, according to the study published Wednesday in the academic journal European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Previous studies have also shown that moderate amounts of black coffee, between 3 and 5 cups a day, reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, heart disease. liver and prostate cancer.

“This manuscript adds to the body of evidence from observational trials linking moderate coffee consumption with cardiovascular protection, which appears promising,” said Charlotte Mills, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Reading, United Kingdom.

However, this study, like many others done in the past, was observational only and therefore cannot prove direct cause and effect, added Mills, who was not involved in the study.

“Does coffee make you healthy, or do people who are inherently healthier drink coffee?” he asked. “Randomized controlled trials are needed to test the relationship between coffee and cardiovascular health.”

Ground coffee containing caffeine reduces the risk the most

The study used data from the UK Biobank, a research database containing the coffee drinking preferences of almost 450,000 adults who did not have arrhythmia or other cardiovascular conditions at the start of the study. . Participants were divided into four groups: those who liked ground coffee containing caffeine, those who chose decaffeinated coffee, those who preferred instant coffee containing caffeine, and those who drank no coffee. at all.

After an average of 12.5 years, researchers reviewed medical and death records for reports of arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and deaths. After adjusting for age, diabetes, ethnicity, high blood pressure, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, gender, smoking, and tea and coffee consumption alcohol, the researchers found that all types of coffee were associated with reduced deaths from any cause.

The fact that caffeinated coffee and decaffeinated coffee are beneficial “might suggest that it’s not caffeine alone that could account for the reduced associated risk,” said Duane Mellor, registered dietitian and senior professor at the University. from California. College of Medicine. in Birmingham, UK, in a statement. He did not participate in the study.

“Caffeine is the most well-known component of coffee, but this drink contains more than 100 biologically active components,” said Kistler, professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

“It is likely that non-caffeinated compounds are responsible for the observed positive associations between coffee consumption, cardiovascular disease, and survival,” Kistler said.

According to the statement, drinking two to three cups of coffee a day was linked to the greatest reduction in premature deaths, compared to people who did not drink coffee. Consumption of ground coffee reduced the risk of death by 27%, followed by 14% for decaf and 11% for caffeinated instant coffee.

The relationship between coffee and reduced risk of heart disease and stroke was not as strong: drinking two to three cups a day of ground coffee reduced the risk by 20%, while the same amount of decaffeinated reduced the risk by 6% and the snapshot by 9%. %.

The data has changed regarding the impact of coffee on irregular heartbeats: four to five daily cups of caffeinated ground coffee reduced the risk by 17%, while two to three daily cups of instant coffee decreased the risk. 12% chance of arrhythmia, as stated.

More studies needed

One limitation of the study was that participants reported having consumed coffee at some point, said Annette Creedon, a nutrition scientist and director of the British Nutrition Foundation, which is partially funded by food producers, retailers and catering companies.

“This study had a median follow-up period of 12.5 years during which many aspects of participants’ diet and lifestyle may have changed,” Creedon said in a statement. She did not participate in the investigation.

Also, coffee can cause negative side effects in some people, he added. People with sleep disorders or uncontrolled diabetes, for example, should consult a doctor before adding caffeine to their diet.

These negative side effects “may be particularly relevant for people sensitive to the effects of caffeine,” Creedon said. “Therefore, the findings of this study do not indicate that people should start drinking coffee if they are not already, or that they should increase their consumption.”

Most studies focus on the health benefits of black coffee and ignore the added sugars, creamers, milks, and processed additives that many people use in coffee.

“A simple cup of coffee, maybe with a little milk, is very different from a nice flavored latte with added syrup and cream,” Mellor said.

Additionally, the way you brew coffee can also affect its health benefits. Filtered coffee traps a compound called cafestol that exists in the oily part of the coffee. Cafestol can raise bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoprotein).

However, using a French press, Turkish coffee maker, or boiling the coffee (as is often done in Scandinavian countries) does not remove the cafestol.

And finally, the benefits of coffee don’t apply to minors: even teenagers shouldn’t drink colas, coffees, energy drinks, or other caffeinated beverages, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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