Drinking two to three cups of coffee daily is linked to a longer life and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to avoiding the beverage, a large observational study suggests.
It did not matter which type of coffee people consumed, researchers wrote in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, with coffee drinkers feeling the benefit from ground, instant or decaffeinated coffee.
The study used information on 449,563 people, with a median of 12.5 years follow-up, drawn from the UK Biobank.
Participants had a median age of 58 years, 55.3% were female, and all were free of arrhythmias or other cardiovascular disease at baseline.
Researchers found ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee were all associated with equivalent reductions in the incidence of cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
This was after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, smoking status, and tea and alcohol consumption,
‘Two to three cups/day of all coffee subtypes was consistently associated with the largest risk reduction in cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, congestive cardiac failure, and all-cause mortality,’ the Australian study authors wrote.
Ground and instant coffee, but not decaffeinated coffee, were also associated with a reduction in arrhythmias, including atrial fibrillation (AF).
‘A U-shaped relationship exists between caffeinated coffee intake and incidence of any arrhythmia, including AF. The largest risk reduction was present at four to five cups a day,’ the researchers said.
Study lead author Professor Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia said the results suggested mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.
‘Drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart healthy behaviour,’ he said in a statement.
Caffeine was the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contained more than 100 biologically active components.
‘It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival,’ Professor Kistler said.
Compared with not drinking coffee, drinking two to three cups a day was linked with a 14%, 27% and 11% lower likelihood of death for decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee, respectively.
Drinking two to three cups a day, compared with not drinking coffee, was associated with a 6%, 20%, and 9% reduced likelihood of cardiovascular disease for decaffeinated, ground, instant coffee, respectively.
People who drank four to five cups of ground coffee daily had a 17% reduced risk of arrhythmia and people who drank two to three cups daily of instant coffee had a 12% reduced risk, compared with people who avoided coffee.