Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day is associated with a longer lifespan and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared with avoiding coffee. This is according to new research published on September 27 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The findings of increased longevity applied to ground, instant, and decaffeinated varieties of coffee.
“In this large, observational study, ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee were associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” said study author Professor Peter Kistler. He is an international leader in cardiac arrhythmia research from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. “The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”
All types of coffee were linked with a reduction in death from any cause in the study. The greatest risk reduction was seen with two to three cups per day, with ground coffee providing the most benefit. Drinking two to three cups of ground coffee a day was associated with a 27% lower likelihood of death and a 20% reduced likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Before this, there was little information on the impact of different coffee preparations on heart health and survival. Therefore, this study examined the associations between types of coffee and incident arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, and death using data from the UK Biobank, which recruited adults between 40 and 69 years of age. Cardiovascular disease was comprised of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and ischaemic stroke.
Included in the study were 449,563 participants free of arrhythmias or other cardiovascular diseases at baseline. The median age of participants was 58 years and 55.3% were women. A questionnaire was completed by participants, which asked how many cups of coffee they drank each day and whether they usually drank instant, ground (such as cappuccino or filtered coffee), or decaffeinated coffee. Additionally, they were grouped into six daily intake categories, consisting of none, less than one, one, two to three, four to five, and more than five cups per day. The usual coffee type was instant in 198,062 (44.1%) participants, ground in 82,575 (18.4%), and decaffeinated in 68,416 (15.2%). Non-coffee drinkers, who served as the comparator group, made up 100,510 (22.4%) of the participants.
Coffee drinkers were compared to non-drinkers for the incidence of cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and death, after adjusting for age, ethnicity, sex, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking status, obstructive sleep apnoea, and tea and alcohol consumption. Outcome information was obtained from medical records and death records. The median follow-up was 12.5 years.
A total of 27,809 (6.2%) participants died during follow-up. All coffee subtypes were linked with a reduction in death from any cause. The greatest risk reduction was seen with two to three cups per day, which compared to no coffee drinking was associated with a 14%, 27%, and 11% reduced likelihood of death for decaffeinated, ground, and instant preparations, respectively.
Cardiovascular disease was diagnosed in 43,173 (9.6%) participants during follow-up. All types of coffee were associated with a reduction in incident cardiovascular disease. Again, the lowest risk was observed with two to three cups daily, which compared to abstinence from coffee was associated with a 6%, 20%, and 9% lower likelihood of cardiovascular disease for decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.
An arrhythmia was diagnosed in 30,100 (6.7%) participants during follow-up. Ground and instant coffee, but not decaffeinated, was associated with a reduction in arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation. Compared with non-drinkers, the lowest risks were observed with four to five cups a day for ground coffee and two to three cups a day for instant coffee, with 17% and 12% reduced risks, respectively.
Professor Kistler said: “Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components. It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease, and survival. Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart-healthy behavior.”
Reference: “The impact of coffee subtypes on incident cardiovascular disease, arrhythmias, and mortality: long-term outcomes from the UK Biobank” by David Chieng, Rodrigo Canovas, Louise Segan, Hariharan Sugumar, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Sandeep Prabhu, Liang Han Ling, Geoffrey Lee, Joseph B Morton, David M Kaye, Jonathan M Kalman and Peter M Kistler, 27 September 2022, European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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