The Science of Coffee and Your Heart
Many people believe that coffee is bad for your heart, but this is wrong! Recent studies have indicated that coffee could be used to protect the health of the heart. So, let us take a closer look at these studies and what the health benefits of coffee for heart health really are!
Studies That Point to Coffee Benefits for Heart Health
During a Harvard study in 2015, researchers found that drinking coffee was not that bad for the health than first thought. During the study, Harvard researchers found that those drinking three to five cups of coffee a day were less likely to contract heart disease or strokes, at least compared to people who drank little to no coffee. Their findings were published in the Circulation magazine.
In addition to the Harvard study, there has been more research into the benefits of coffee for heart health. Some of these studies precede the 2015 study of the Harvard University, since the results from the following study were published in Circulation in 2013.
During 36 earlier studies on coffee, researchers tested the effect of coffee on more than one million patients. The results of the study indicated that people with moderate coffee consumption had less chance of developing cardiovascular disease than patients who did not drink coffee. The studies also indicated that the consumption of three to five cups per day proved most effective.
Another analysis proving the heart benefits of coffee was published in Circulation: Heart Failure in 2012. The results were obtained from five clinical studies, which showed that those who drank more than four cups of coffee a day were less likely to experience heart failure. The study was executed on more than 140,000 patients, so this study certainly seems to support everything researchers have been claiming in the latest studies.
Why Is Coffee Good for the Heart?
Even though researchers are not a 100% certain about the ingredients that could contribute to better heart health, they believe it could be related to naturally-occurring compounds in coffee beans. Coffee contains several hundreds of unique compounds called phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce inflammation. Researchers believe that it is this quality that could improve the health of your heart.
Some medical experts believe that an inflammatory component could contribute to common heart-related problems; this includes heart failure, atherosclerosis and more. Therefore, a beverage that contains many anti-inflammatory properties could eliminate that inflammatory component completely and prevent the development of certain cardiovascular conditions.
The only real downside to this discovery is the fact that some people cannot tolerate the caffeine in coffee; this is usually limited to people with severe anxiety disorders. Still, you can switch to a non-caffeinated version of coffee to benefit from some of the anti-inflammatory components in coffee beans.
Does Coffee Provide Other Health Benefits?
Surprisingly, coffee has more health benefits than supporting the health of the heart. Researchers have been fascinated with some of the results they have obtained over the past couple of years, so let us take a closer look at some of them to determine the main health benefits of coffee aside from cardiovascular disease prevention.
Muscle Pain Reduction
One of the most fascinating benefits uncovered by researchers is the fact that coffee consumption could reduce muscle pains with a whopping 48%; this study was published in The Journal of Pain in March 2007.
The benefit is mainly advantageous for athletes, since studies showed that coffee reduces muscle pain after intensive training. So, if you often struggle from muscle pain after a gym session, you might want to add some coffee to your routine.
Reduces the Risk of Colorectal Cancer
Moderate coffee consumption has also been linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. A recent study discovered that moderate coffee drinkers have 26% less chance of developing this condition. Therefore, coffee could have a clear link to cancer prevention.
Lower Risk of MS
Recent studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption could have an impact on the manifestation of MS – also known under the name Multiple Sclerosis. The study – which was published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry – indicated that some of the compounds in coffee could prevent the neural inflammation that leads to the disease. Therefore, moderate coffee drinkers have less chance of developing MS or a lower risk on the reoccurrence of MS.
The European Journal of Nutrition published a study that the DNA of coffee drinkers was significantly stronger than the DNA of non-coffee drinkers. Researchers could determine this benefit by looking at the white blood cells of coffee drinkers, which seem to have less spontaneous breakage of DNA strands.
Reduced Risk of Parkinson’s Disease
A study executed in Sweden – which was published in the Archives of Neurology – indicated that moderate use of coffee could reduce the chance of Parkinson’s disease. The study also revealed that even patients who are more prone to the disease due to genetics, were still less likely to get the condition with moderate coffee consumption.
Benefits for Mental Health
Coffee has also proven benefit for mental health. During a 10-year study of approximately 86,000 female nurses, researchers found that there is significantly less risk of suicide and depression amongst coffee drinkers. Their findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Another study seemed to support that theory, which was also executed at Harvard University. During the study, researchers found that women drinking four or more cups of coffee a day were 20% less likely to suffer from depression. This again supports the claim of the 10-year study described earlier.
Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Coffee consumption – and caffeine consumption in particular – could play a major role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. There have been numerous studies into the benefits of caffeine for Alzheimer’s patients, with sufficient evidence to back up this claim. Most of these findings have been published in the European Journal of Neurology.
Reduced Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Patients with a higher chance of diabetes due to a hereditary component could benefit from drinking more coffee. In the Archives of Internal Medicine, a study was released that claims those who drink 6 or more cups a day have 22% lower risk of diabetes.
Another study executed by Dr. Frank Hu at Harvard University backed up the above-mentioned claim. He claims that his research showed a reduced risk of diabetes by 9% for every cup of coffee consumed. Decaf coffee proved useful too, because this type of coffee reduces the risk by 6% per cup!
Coffee can protect you against numerous heart-related illnesses, but you should certainly look further than that. Researchers are currently fascinated with the health benefits of coffee, so next time someone accuses you of drinking too much of it, you have some research as a backup!
So, don’t feel guilty about enjoying a good cup of coffee, because a nice brew made from fresh coffee beans is good for your health. Naturally, everything must be consumed in moderation. As the studies suggestion, a moderate consumption of coffee is most beneficial. Still, four to six cups of coffees is still a lot, so pour yourself a fresh cup and enjoy!
About The Author
Shannon Dunn is a content coordinator for Coffee In My Veins. Fueled by healthy amounts of coffee, she is a master wordsmith and a coffee connoisseur.
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