Research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, on Sep. 27, observed that amongst 450,000 adults with an average age of 58 over a 13-year period that sipping two to three cups of coffee a day is linked with a longer lifespan and a lower risk of heart disease compared to avoiding it.
“Ground, instant, and decaffeinated coffee were associated with reductions in the incidence of and death from cardiovascular disease or any cause,” the study’s author Prof. Peter Kistler of the Baker Heart and Diabetes Research Institute, said.
“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Caffeine is the most well-known ingredient in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components, including antioxidants, anti-inflammatory elements, and electrolytes.
“It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease, and survival,” Kistler said.
Participants in the longitudinal study reported the number of cups of coffee they drank per day and whether they mostly had instant, ground (such as cappuccino, filtered coffee), or decaffeinated coffee.
Nearly 45 percent said they drank instant, 18.4 percent was ground, and 15.2 percent drank decaffeinated.
22.4 percent were non-coffee drinkers who served as the control group.
The researchers compared coffee drinkers with non-drinkers with a follow-up at around 13 years, after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnoea, smoking status, tea, and alcohol consumption.
They found a reduction in death for all types of coffee drinkers, and the greatest reduction was for those who drank two to three cups a day, with a lowered risk of death for decaffeinated at 14 percent, ground at 27 percent, and instant at 11 percent.
Even during the follow-up 13 years later, the likelihood of heart disease for those who drank two to three cups of decaffeinated, ground, and instant coffee a day, was reduced by six percent, 20 percent, and nine percent respectively.
“Our findings indicate that drinking modest amounts of coffee of all types should not be discouraged but can be enjoyed as a heart-healthy behaviour,” Kistler said.
How to take it optimally
Other research says that while adding milk can add calories, one spoonful of sugar has been found to lower the risk of heart disease even more, perhaps due to the increased energy and serotonin, but regardless of any assumed benefits of adding sugar, one should avoid overdoing it.
Too much coffee can also lead to anxiety and insomnia, so a limit of 400 mg of caffeine a day—around three to four cups of coffee—is recommended.