Up to 3 Cups of Coffee per Day Associated With Health Benefits

Coffee Heart

Up to three cups of coffee per day is associated with a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart disease, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2021.1,2

“To our knowledge, this is the largest study to systematically assess the cardiovascular effects of regular coffee consumption in a population without diagnosed heart disease,” said study author Dr. Judit Simon, of the Heart and Vascular Centre, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

“Our results suggest that regular coffee consumption is safe, as even high daily intake was not associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes and all-cause mortality after a follow-up of 10 to 15 years,” she continued. “Moreover, 0.5 to 3 cups of coffee per day was independently associated with lower risks of stroke, death from cardiovascular disease, and death from any cause.”

Even though coffee is among the most consumed beverages in the world, little is known about the long-term impact of regular consumption on cardiovascular health.

This study investigated the association between usual coffee intake and incident heart attack, stroke, and death. The study included 468,629 participants of the UK Biobank with no signs of heart disease at the time of recruitment. The average age was 56.2 years and 55.8% were women.

Participants were divided into three groups according to their usual coffee intake: none (did not consume coffee on a regular basis, 22.1%), light-to-moderate (0.5 to 3 cups/day, 58.4%), and high (more than 3 cups/day, 19.5%).

The researchers estimated the association of daily coffee consumption with incident outcomes over a median follow-up of 11 years using multivariable models. The analyses were adjusted for factors that could influence the relationship including age, sex, weight, height, smoking status, physical activity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol level, socioeconomic status, and usual intake of alcohol, meat, tea, fruit and vegetables.

Compared to non-coffee drinkers, light-to-moderate consumption was associated with a 12% lower risk of all-cause death (hazard ratio [HR]=0.88, p<0.001), 17% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease (HR=0.83, p=0.006), and 21% lower risk of incident stroke (HR=0.79; p=0.037).

To examine the potential underlying mechanisms, the researchers analyzed the association between daily coffee intake and heart structure and function over a median follow-up of 11 years. For this, they used data from 30,650 participants who underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is considered the gold standard for the assessment of cardiac structure and function.

Dr. Simon said: “The imaging analysis indicated that compared with participants who did not drink coffee regularly, daily consumers had healthier sized and better functioning hearts. This was consistent with reversing the detrimental effects of aging on the heart.”

She concluded: “Our findings suggest that coffee consumption of up to 3 cups per day is associated with favorable cardiovascular outcomes. While further studies are needed to explain the underlying mechanisms, the observed benefits might be partly explained by positive alterations in cardiac structure and function.”

References and notes

  1. Abstract title: Association of daily coffee consumption with cardiovascular health – Results from the UK Biobank.
  2. Press conference: “Heart health made easy” on Thursday, August 26, from 17:00 to 18:00 CEST.

Funding: P.B.M and S.E.P acknowledge support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Barts Biomedical Research Centre. S.E.P. acknowledges support from the ‘SmartHeart’ EPSRC program grant (www.nihr.ac.uk; EP/P001009/1) and also from the CAP-AI program, London’s first AI enabling program focused on stimulating growth in the capital’s AI Sector. CAP-AI is led by Capital Enterprise in partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust and Digital Catapult and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Barts Charity. S.E.P. and S.N. acknowledge the British Heart Foundation for funding the manual analysis to create a cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging reference standard for the UK Biobank imaging resource in 5000 CMR scans (www.bhf.org.uk; PG/14/89/31194). S.N and SKP supported by the Oxford NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and S.N. by the Oxford British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence. N.A. recognizes the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Integrated Academic Training program which supports their Academic Clinical Lectureship posts. N.C.H acknowledges support from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC #405050259 and #U105960371), NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton, and University Hospital Southampton. Z.R.E was supported by a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship (FS/17/81/33318). Project no. NVKP_16-1–2016-0017 (’National Heart Program’) has been implemented with the support provided from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary, financed under the NVKP_16 funding scheme. The research was financed by the Thematic Excellence Programme (2020-4.1.1.-TKP2020) of the Ministry for Innovation and Technology in Hungary, within the framework of the Therapeutic Development and Bioimaging thematic programs of the Semmelweis University.

1 Comment on "Up to 3 Cups of Coffee per Day Associated With Health Benefits"

  1. As with all of the studies like this, they make no mention of whether it’s the caffeine or not, and thus, whether other sources of caffeine would give the same benefit at the same dosages.

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