New Study Shows Black Coffee Good for Heart

A new study may be great news for coffee drinkers! One or more cups of black, caffeinated coffee a day was linked to a lower risk of heart failure, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). The find came from reviewing data from three major studies. But, drinking decaf was linked to a higher risk of heart failure.  

The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising,” said senior author Dr. David Kao, medical director of the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the Univ. of Colorado School of Medicine. “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.”

The three studies all took place for at least 10 years. And they had information from more than 21,000 American adults. Two of the studies found that each cup of black, caffeinated coffee decreased the risk of heart failure by five to 12 percent. The other saw that people who drank at least two cups had a 30 percent lower heart failure risk.

The study doesn’t prove that coffee is the cause of the lower heart risk, just that there was a link. It could be that people who drink black coffee as part of their day have other patterns in common. But as caffeinated coffee is so frequently viewed as being bad for the heart, it’s still an interesting find!

Cream, creamers, sugar and flavors can all add calories and fat that could undo whatever good is being done according to the AHA. The study only looked at the impact of black coffee. If you love creamers, ween yourself off of them. When you look at the label, you might be horrified by the list of ingredients. Limiting yourself to just a little milk is probably the best way to enjoy your coffee if you don’t like it black.

Also, brewing methods can impact how heart-healthy your coffee is. Drip coffee that most of us drink is healthy, as is the currently trendy pour-over coffee. But neither French press nor Turkish coffee filters out the chemical cafestol, which can raise your level of LDL cholesterol. So you should keep that in mind.   

Registered dietitian Penny Kris-Etherton, the immediate past chairperson of the AHA’s Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council Leadership Committee, reviewed the study. In a statement, she said, “The bottom line: enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern that meets recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/non-fat dairy products, and that also is low in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.”

Banner image: Igor Haritanovich via Pexels
February 10, 2021

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