Drinking coffee can benefit your heart and help you live longer, research says

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Contrary to concerns among some doctors and the public, drinking coffee may actually protect the heart rather than causing or worsening heart problems.

Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day has been linked to a 10% to 15% lower risk of getting heart disease, such as heart failure and heart rhythm problems, or dying early for any reason, according to three abstracts from survey published this week.

“Because coffee can speed up the heart rate, some people fear that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart problems. That’s where the general medical advice to stop drinking coffee might come from, Peter M. Kistler, senior author of the study, said in a statement. Kistler is head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Heart and Diabetes Institute and head of electrophysiology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.

“We found that drinking coffee had a neutral effect — meaning it wasn’t harmful — or was associated with heart health benefits,” said Kistler, a leading expert on arrhythmia, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne. and at Monash University, both in Australia.

For all of the studies, Kistler and the other researchers used data from the UK Biobank, which has tracked the health outcomes of more than 500,000 people for at least ten years. Upon joining the registry, participants reported the time when coffee consumption dropped in a range of up to one cup to six cups or more daily.

The authors of the current research wanted to examine the relationship between coffee drinking and heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke; and total and heart-related deaths among people with and without heart disease

The first study focused on more than 382,500 adults who did not have heart disease and were on average 57 years old. Participants who drank two to three cups of coffee daily had the lowest risk of later developing the heart problems the study focused on, the researchers found.

People who drank about one cup of coffee a day had the lowest risk of having a stroke or dying from cardiovascular disease.

Another study looked at the relationships between different types of coffee — caffeinated ground, caffeinated instant and decaf — and the same health outcomes, whether decaf coffee was ground or instant was not specified, Kistler said in an email.

“I suppose there may have been a perception that cheaper ‘instant’ coffee might be less beneficial than ‘ground’ coffee, which might be seen as ‘purer’, but that was not the case in our study.” added.

Drinking one to five cups of ground or instant coffee a day was associated with lower risks of arrhythmia, heart disease or heart failure or stroke. Drinking two to three cups of any type of coffee every day has been linked to a lower risk of dying early or of heart disease.

Participants analyzed in a third study were those who already had arrhythmia or some type of cardiovascular disease. For people with heart disease, no level of coffee intake was associated with the development of arrhythmia.

Of adults with arrhythmia, drinking coffee — especially one cup a day — was associated with a lower risk of premature death.

“Doctors often have some apprehension about people with known cardiovascular disease or arrhythmias continuing to drink coffee, so they often err on the side of caution and advise them to stop drinking it altogether due to fears that it could trigger dangerous heart rhythms,” Kistler said.

“But our study shows that regular coffee intake is safe and can be part of a healthy diet for people with heart disease.”

David Kao, however, said he “does not think there is enough information in this summary to support that claim.”

Kao was not involved in the research and is an associate professor in the cardiology and bioinformatics and personalized medicine divisions at the University of Colorado Anschutz.

“It’s very important to understand what was adjusted in the analysis,” said Kao, who is also the medical director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine.

“The obvious is age. If young people at lower risk of CVD [doença cardiovascular] drink more coffee, the apparent benefit of coffee may just reflect the effect of age. The authors don’t mention what they tweaked, so you have to be cautious.”

The press release for the analyses, however, said the researchers controlled for exercise, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, as these factors can influence heart health and longevity. But the authors had no control over dietary factors.

“The problem is that the design of studies like this will always be vulnerable to something we call selection bias — that people who end up drinking five cups of coffee a day can be fundamentally different from people who drink one cup a day or people who drink a cup of coffee a day. decaf,” said Lee Schwamm, vice president of digital patient experience and virtual care at Mass General Brigham in Boston.

Some people experience negative effects after drinking coffee if they are more sensitive, while others drink espresso before bed and still sleep, he said.

The analyzes “provide further evidence that moderate coffee consumption does not increase the risk of heart disease and does not need to be stopped if a person has heart disease, even if it is an abnormal heart rhythm,” Kao said.

The research will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 71st Annual Scientific Session, April 2-3.

What cardiac patients should know

The research did not establish a causal relationship between coffee consumption and health conditions. But “there are a whole host of mechanisms by which coffee can reduce mortality and have these favorable effects on cardiovascular disease,” Kistler said in the press release.

Whether caffeine is responsible for any of coffee’s health benefits is unclear, Kao said. “There are many biologically active compounds in coffee specifically that could play a role,” he said.

These compounds can help reduce inflammation, inhibit fat absorption from the gut, block receptors involved with abnormal heart rhythms, and reduce oxidative stress, Kistler said.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules from environmental sources, such as cigarette smoke or pesticides, that can harm cells in the body.

If you’re wondering whether you can drink coffee depending on your current or future risk of heart problems, talk to your doctor, said Schwamm, who is also a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School.

“People should not interpret this as an endorsement that drinking coffee will increase your life expectancy,” he added.

“By far the most important things to prolong the life and quality of life for these patients will be having a really careful plan with their doctor about physical activity, medications to control cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, not smoking and others. ”

Source: CNN Brasil

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