Enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning—and perhaps another during the mid-afternoon crash—may help to wake you up. However, you might not be aware of what else your favorite brew can do for your body. For instance, a new study has found that drinking just two to three cups of coffee each day can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and help you live longer.
The study, which was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, involved 449,563 participants from the UK Biobank who were a median age of 58 years old. When the study began, none of the participants had arrhythmias or CVD.
As for the participants' coffee habits, 15.2% said they regularly consumed decaffeinated coffee while 18.4% opted for ground coffee. There were 44.1% of participants who drank instant coffee daily and 22.4% who claimed that they didn't drink coffee.
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The study then involved follow-ups that occurred a median of 12.5 years later. At that time, it was noted that 6.7% of the participants had been diagnosed with an arrhythmia (or irregular heartbeat). Although decaffeinated coffee didn't seem to have an effect, it was found that ground coffee lowered the risk of arrhythmia by 17% when participants consumed four or five cups of coffee a day while two to three cups of instant coffee lowered the risk by 12% compared to those who didn't drink coffee.
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Beyond that, 9.6% of the participants had been diagnosed with CVD. In this case, decaffeinated coffee lowered the risk by 6%, instant coffee by 9%, and ground coffee by 20% compared to those who didn't drink coffee.
After the follow up, it was also found that 6.2% of the participants had died. Again, two to three cups of coffee a day was connected to a reduced risk of death. Instant coffee showed an 11% reduction while decaffeinated coffee was associated with a 14% lower risk, and ground coffee offered a 27% reduced risk.
"I love these study findings! The benefits of regular coffee consumption, in particular caffeinated coffee consumption, has gotten a lot of scrutiny over the years, and according to this study, 80% of health practitioners recommend avoiding coffee in patients with CVD," Kiran Campbell, RD, tells Eat This, Not That! "With that said, decaf drinkers should also be delighted in the confirmation of reduced risk of CVD and all-cause mortality."
At the same time, Campbell notes that "other factors play a role in cardiovascular health and outcomes." Indeed, "if a person thinks that merely drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee each day is going to protect against CVD and new-onset arrhythmia, then they will likely be sadly mistaken." Instead, Campbell says, "Coffee intake is only a small part of living a heart-healthy lifestyle. Dietary and lifestyle habits are also major contributors and need to be considered."