Drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee each day may reduce risk of heart failure, research has found.
The analysis of three large heart disease studies following over 21,000 US adults for at least a decade, published yesterday by the American Heart Association, showed people who drank coffee daily had a decreased long-term risk of heart failure.
David Kao, senior author of the study, said the ‘surprising’ findings of the study go against the public assumption that coffee and caffeine are ‘bad for the heart’ because ‘people associate them with palpitations and high blood pressure’.
But he added: ‘There is not yet enough clear evidence to recommend increasing coffee consumption to decrease risk of heart disease with the same strength and certainty as stopping smoking, losing weight or exercising.’
The researchers found caffeine from any source appeared to be associated with decreased heart failure risk and caffeine was at least part of the reason for the apparent benefit from drinking more coffee.
One of the studies, called the Framingham Heart Study, even suggested decaffeinated coffee significantly increased heart attack risk – though other findings, from the Cardiovascular Health Study, showed that decaffeinated coffee had no impact.
The Framingham Heart Study also found the risk of heart failure over the course of decades decreased by 5% to 12% per cup per day of coffee. But the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found risk did not change for zero to one cup per day but lowered by 30% in people who drank at least two cups.
The research limitations included certain not factors not ? being specified in the studies – such as preparation methods, origin of coffee beans, unit measurements for one cup, and whether coffee is filtered or unfiltered. The findings might also not apply to other sources of caffeine.
In pregnant and breastfeeding women, the UK Food Standards Agency recommends a daily maximum of 200mg of caffeine – equivalent to two mugs or four cups of coffee.
It does not specify a limit for other adults but adds that children, or other people sensitive to caffeine, should only consume caffeine in moderation.