What Coffee Could Do for Your Heart Health

Coffee consumption of 3 to 5 cups per day could mean lower risk of heart disease death

That morning cuppa is a must-have for many people. And now it looks like java fans may have a healthy reason to pour another cup.

In a new study, researchers from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) looked at coffee consumption and found that moderate coffee consumption may decrease the risk of dying from heart disease.

Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Europe for both men and women, according to the ISIC.

Dr. Carlo La Vecchia, professor of epidemiology at the University of Milan in Italy, presented the results of a multi-study review. Dr. La Vecchia and team reviewed multiple studies on coffee intake and deaths from heart disease.

Drinking around 3 cups of coffee per day was linked to a 21 percent decrease in patients' risk of dying of heart disease, Dr. La Vecchia and team found. Optimal protection against heart disease was tied to 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day.

Dr. La Vecchia and colleagues said they do not know exactly why coffee might have this effect. Coffee contains antioxidants, which may play a part, they said. These compounds remove potentially damaging agents in the body.

Three to 5 cups of coffee a day was also linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, Dr. La Vecchia and team found. Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body's cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar.

The protective effect of coffee may vary by population. Japanese patients appeared to gain the greatest heart protection with 2 cups of coffee a day. Those in the UK and US saw greater benefit with 3 cups.

Dr. La Vecchia and colleagues presented the results of this study at the EuroPRevent session report by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee in June.

Information on funding and conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.