This information is intended for healthcare and professional audiences.
Cardiovascular disease risk
- Recent evidence suggests that there is no overall association between moderate coffee intake and coronary heart disease (CHD). In fact, habitual moderate coffee drinking has been associated with a lower risk of CHD in women.
- In addition, there does appear to be a small inverse association between coffee drinking and risk of stroke in women only. This inverse association is especially strong in women who are past smokers or who have never smoked.
Cardiovascular disease risk factors
- The precise nature of the relationship between coffee intake and blood pressure is unclear but overall the evidence suggests that regular intake of caffeinated coffee does not increase the risk of hypertension.
- Coffee constituents other than caffeine are responsible for the total and LDL-cholesterol-raising effect of coffee. However, these constituents are found in unfiltered coffee and not filtered.
- A small number of preliminary studies have shown a short-term effect of coffee on arterial dilation. Further studies are needed before conclusions can be drawn.
- Although there is some evidence to suggest that high coffee intakes increase blood homocysteine, the relationship between high homocysteine levels and cardiovascular disease risk is unclear.
- The mechanisms underlying the associations seen between coffee consumption and reduced risk of stroke, and potential associations with risk factors for coronary heart disease (i.e. cholesterol and blood vessel dilation), need further investigation.
- It is likely that caffeine is not solely responsible for the effect.
- Other coffee constituents, such as cafestol, potassium and polyphenols, may also play a role.
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