The link between coffee and heart disease is a hotly contested topic. There have been studies that show coffee may have some beneficial effects on heart disease while others show it may increase risk factors. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the US. Over 80 million American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). These include
high blood pressure
, heart failure, or
Two large cohort studies reviewed the effect of caffeine on CVD and mortality risks. Both studies were conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA. The information for the studies was gathered through the Health Professional’s Follow-up Study and the Nurse’s Health Study. These studies have followed participants for over 20 years to understand how lifestyle choices affect overall health. The Nurse’s study followed women while the Health Professional study followed men. The review showed no significant link between coffee and the risk of CVD or death. The findings are published in the
Annals of Internal Medicine
About the Study
The study followed a total of 41,736 men and 86,214 women. The men were followed for 18 years and the women for 24 years. The researchers concluded that those who reported higher amounts of coffee consumption actually had a significantly lower risk of death from any cause and a significantly lower risk of death from CVD.
A second study published in the
Journal of Family Practice
reviewed the relationship between coffee consumption and non-fatal and fatal heart attacks. Researchers reviewed the information from 44,005 men and 84,488 women. The incidence of cardiac events and caffeine consumption was followed since 1986 for the men and 1980 for the women. The researchers concluded again that there was no significant association between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease.
How Does This Affect You?
There have been many studies that demonstrate conflicting evidence on coffee’s effect on heart disease. As with other things, coffee should be consumed in moderation. A balanced diet, healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and a physically active lifestyle are important to decreasing your risk of heart disease, including heart attacks.
If you are currently being treated for a heart condition, speak to your doctor about dietary restrictions and recommendations.
Last reviewed July 2008 by Larissa J. Lucas, MD
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