In the collective unconscious, coffee and its caffeine are rather perceived as substances bad for the heart, because they are associated with palpitations and hypertension.
A new scientific study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure of the American Heart Association reveals that, against all expectations, and under certain conditions, drinking coffee would reduce the risk of heart failure.
The research team here used the American Heart Association’s precision medicine platform to cross-reference data from three studies examining the risk of cardiovascular problems and including information on participants’ eating habits. Each study included at least 10 years of follow-up, and in total, the three research studies used provided data from more than 21,000 American adults.
The researchers classified the participants’ coffee consumption as follows: no cup per day, one cup / day, 2 cups / day, and 3 cups / day.
Analysis of the results revealed that:
- in all three studies, people who reported drinking one or more cups of coffee per day (with caffeine) had a decreased long-term risk of heart failure compared to non-coffee drinkers;
- for two studies, the risk of heart failure over decades of follow-up was decreased by 5 to 12% per cup of coffee and per day, compared to no coffee consumption ;
- in the atherosclerosis risk study, the risk of heart failure did not vary from zero to one cup of coffee per day; however, it was about 30% lower in people who drank 2 or more cups per day ;
- Conversely, drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase the risk of heart failure, reveals one of the three studies, a result which, however, was not observed in the other two.
Beware of hasty conclusions and the addition of sugar or dairy products
Examining the results in detail, the researchers found that it would be more caffeine consumption (whatever the source), and not coffee, which would decrease the risk of heart failure.
“The association between caffeine and reduced risk of heart failure was surprising. Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be bad for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc. The consistent relationship between increased caffeine intake and decreased risk of heart failure undermines this misconception”, Commented Dr. David Kao, lead author of the study and professor of cardiology at the University of Colorado (United States).
“However, there is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption in order to reduce the risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty with which one advises to quit smoking, lose weight or exercise ”, qualified the specialist.
Cautious, the American Heart Association points out, however, that coffee-based drinks to which sugar, cream or other high-fat dairy products have been added are rather to be avoided, because too rich and too caloric. As for caffeine, it should also be consumed in moderation since in excess, it leads in particular to sleep and nervousness problems. Children should also avoid all drinks containing caffeine.