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Coffee has a long track record of being accused as a base of multiple ills like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and weight gain, but a recent study indicated that coffee can do more good than harm and its health benefits may actually outweigh the risks.
Recent research studies have actually found an association of increased coffee consumption with health benefits like decreased cardiovascular mortality, protection against type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, decreasing the risk of depression and improving the overall cognitive function.
Coffee And The Risk Of Stroke And Heart Disease
Heart attacks or strokes are caused by disruptions in endothelial function, leading to a sudden loss of blood flow. Research supports that drinking four to five cups of coffee reduces the risk of a stroke by 36 percent, which is due to the favorable impact of coffee on endothelial function.
Another study conducted on more than 59,000 people over 19 years clearly showed the protective effects of coffee against heart failure. The study concluded that women who consumed at least a cup of coffee per day reduce their chances of heart failure by approximately 27 percent compared to those who drink no coffee at all. Also, four to five cups of coffee consumed per day by either men or women provided the strongest protection against heart failure.
In yet another study, a group of people who had suffered a heart attack were given coffee during their stay in the coronary unit. It was found that 96% of the patients showed an increase in their heart rate variability (a measure of protection against premature cardiovascular death).
Similarly, people suffering from diabetes are known to be at high risk of heart attacks because of the poor endothelial function caused by high glucose levels. A study on type 2 diabetic patients showed that patients who consumed four to five cups of coffee daily were 30 percent less likely to die from any of the cardiovascular diseases.
New Research Data From Korea: Definite Proof?
A breakthrough study was conducted by researchers in Korea, to analyze the risk of developing heart problems. They enrolled 25,138 men and women of average age 41 who underwent routine health screening tests. None of them had any signs of heart disease till then. The researchers studied their lifestyle and habits, such as alcohol consumption, smoking, food habits, and coffee consumption. All the participants underwent a CT scan to determine the level of calcium in their coronary arteries, the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart. The presence of calcium deposits is usually seen as an early sign of coronary heart disease. Over time, these calcium deposits may harden and break, thus reducing the blood flow to the heart or build up the clots that may lead to heart attacks. The scans revealed that more than 13.4 percent of the participants had calcium in their coronary arteries.
After relating their lifestyle reports and their family history of heart problems, it was found that the association between coffee drinking and calcium accumulation was U-shaped. That is, participants who drank between three and five cups of coffee a day had the lowest calcium ratio of 0.59. Those who drank less than one cup a day had a calcium ratio of 0.77. Those who drank one to three cups a day had a ratio of 0.66. And among those who drank more than five cups a day, the ratio was 0.81, thus adding to the growing evidence that coffee is good for a person’s heart health.