Drinking one or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day is associated with decreased long-term risk of heart failure, says a study published in Circulation: Heart Failure.
The study analyzed the data from more than 21,000 US adults. The researchers categorized consumption as 0 cups per day, 1 cup per day, 2 cups per day, and 3 cups per day. The three studies conducted were namely FHS (Framingham Heart Study), CHS (Cardiovascular Heart Study), and the ARIC study (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities).
In all three studies, those who reportedly drank one or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a decreased chance of long-term heart failure risk.
The Framingham Heart and Cardiovascular Health studies showed that the risk of heart failure decreased by 5 to 12 per cent per cup per day of coffee over decades compared with no coffee consumption.
However, in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, the risk of heart failure did not change between 0 to 1 cup per day of coffee, but it was about 3 per cent lower in people who drank at least 2 cups per day.
"The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising. Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be 'bad' for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure, etc. The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head," said Dr, Kao, author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado.
Despite the benefits, caffeine if consumed in excess, can also have detrimental effects and children are strictly advised to avoid caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee also has the opposite impact of increasing chance of heart failure.
Study limitations include differences in the way coffee drinking was recorded and the type of coffee consumed. There is also not enough evidence to confirm that increasing coffee consumption to reduce heart failure will have the same effect and strength as stopping smoking, losing weight or exercising.
The study findings may not apply to energy drinks, caffeinated teas, soda, and other food items with caffeine, including chocolate.