This New Study On the Benefits of Coffee Will Have You Brewing Another Cup
There's no question that coffee is a popular drink, thanks to its ability to perk up even the most weary souls. People across generations consider the beverage part of their daily ritual, even if millennials alone get roasted for their "But first, coffee" catchphrase.
While coffee's energy-boosting nature no doubt plays a major role in its popularity, you may be curious whether the drink also has health benefits that boost its appeal. Yes, research has uncovered some impressive potential perks, from aiding in blood sugar control to speeding up workout recovery, and a recent set of studies adds new insight on the health benefits of coffee.
Together, the studies are the largest analyses of coffee's relationship to heart disease and death to date, according to a press release from the American College of Cardiology. "Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues," said Peter M. Kistler, Ph.D., professor and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and the study's senior author, in the statement. "This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn't be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease." (Related: The Best Coffee Subscription Services to Get Your Caffeine Fix)
For each of the three studies, researchers used survey responses from the UK BioBank, a database with health information from half a million people in the UK. The first study uncovered an interesting nugget about the best amount of coffee to drink. Researchers focused on participants' reported daily coffee consumption and whether they developed heart disease or stroke over the course of 10 years. Those who drank one cup per day showed the lowest risk of stroke and heart-related death, while those who drank two to three cups per day showed a lowered risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure, a heart rhythm problem, or dying in general. (Coffee's potential heart health benefits may result from its antioxidant content.)
The second study focused on whether subjects with existing heart disease gained coffee benefits or made matters worse with their habit. Those who drank two to three cups of coffee per day showed a lower odds of dying compared to non coffee-drinkers. And no amount of coffee drinking was associated with a higher risk of heart rhythm problems. "Clinicians generally have some apprehension about people with known cardiovascular disease or arrhythmias continuing to drink coffee, so they often err on the side of caution and advise them to stop drinking it altogether due to fears that it may trigger dangerous heart rhythms," stated Kistler in the press release. "But our study shows that regular coffee intake is safe and could be part of a healthy diet for people with heart disease." Of course, you should still always check with your doctor to discuss what's best for you. (Related: Your Guide to Cold Brew vs. Iced Coffee)
The third and final study on coffee health benefits compared the effects of instant coffee vs. ground coffee vs. decaf. All three groups saw lower risk of death compared to non coffee-drinkers. Drinking ground or instant coffee seemed to lower the risk of arrhythmias, artery blockages, stroke, or heart failure, while decaf only seemed to lower the risk of heart failure.
The three new studies add to a wealth of existing research about the benefits of drinking coffee. If you're one of the many people who considers the drink a non-negotiable, now you have even more justification for drinking it on the reg.