Heart disease impacts over 30 million Americans each year, making it the number one silent killer among Americans today. In a recent study published in the journal, Circulation: Heart Failure, and funded by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, evidence suggests that coffee consumption can decrease the chance of developing heart failure in the long run. This study re-examined three different heart studies: the Framingham Heart Study, Cardiovascular Heart Study, and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities. All three studies found a correlation between decreased risk of heart failure and daily coffee intake.
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) is a continuous long-term study that investigates heart disease and the causes of its development. It consists of participants between ages 30 and 62 who are examined every two years. The Cardiovascular Heart Study (CHS) specializes in coronary heart disease and stroke among adults 65 years and older, who are examined every ten years. The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study focuses on atherosclerosis of the heart which is a disease of the heart arteries. Participants of ARIC are between the ages of 45 to 64 years and are examined every three years. All individuals participating in the three studies did not have any cardiovascular disease prior to their enrollment. Researchers at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine used the multivariable Cox proportional hazards analysis. This method of analysis is used in medical research to determine the relationship between a certain variable and patient survival. In this case, the variable was coffee intake and patient survival corresponded to not having heart failure.
The researcher’s findings concluded that increased coffee consumption was correlated with a decrease in the risk of heart failure. In FHS, elders consuming coffee exhibited a 43% decrease in heart disease mortality compared to those who consumed no coffee. It was also found by FHS and CHS that heart failure was reduced by 5% -12% when coffee was consumed by participants. In ARIC heart failure fell by 30% as more than 2 cups of coffee were consumed. On a side note, FHS did find a relationship between the consumption of decaffeinated coffee and an increase in heart failure.
While there is no direct evidence that coffee consumption decreases heart failure risk, this analysis of all three studies can be used as a springboard for further investigation of this peculiar relationship. So next time you’re drinking that morning cup of coffee, your heart might just be thanking you.