The Latest in the Great Coffee Debate

You never know with coffee right?

But a new analysis, the largest to date to look at coffee’s role in heart disease and death, finds that coffee does not cause cardiovascular problems and may actually be heart-protective and increase life expectancy.

Researchers looked at the data of more than 468,000 adults who had not been diagnosed with heart disease. They were separated into three groups: non-coffee drinkers, light to moderate coffee drinkers (1-3 cups per day), and heavy coffee drinkers (3+ cups per day). The MRI scans of 30,650 participants were examined 11 years later to look at how coffee consumption may have affected the body and heart.

The findings:

  • Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 12% lower risk of overall mortality compared to non-coffee drinkers.
  • Drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day was linked with a 17% lower risk of death caused by cardiovascular diseases compared to those who didn’t drink coffee.
  • Drinking between one-half and three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 21% reduced risk of stroke.
  • Decaf coffee was also associated with reduced all-cause mortality.
  • Participants who drank instant coffee did not receive the same heart-related benefits.
  • There was no evidence of negative heart health consequences even for heavy coffee drinkers.

The takeaway: There are a few important points when it comes to coffee. Not everyone tolerates it well and coffee can make your heart race or make you jittery. If that’s the case, coffee may not be for you. But for those who do enjoy a cup (or three) per day, the benefits appear to be on your side! In fact, the authors of the analysis noted that there is no need for people with heart disease to refrain from drinking coffee as long as they feel fine when doing so. Instant coffee may not have the same benefits because it is processed heavily. And the health-promoting properties of coffee beans don’t necessarily come from the caffeine but from the 100 or so compounds found in the bean that can reduce oxidative stress, improve metabolism, lower inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, and more.

When choosing your beans go for organically grown if you can to help reduce your exposure to pesticides. Look for clean brands that are also mold and mycotoxin free as this too can be a concern when it comes to coffee beans.

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