Coffee consumption and cardiovascular health

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Coffee and health includes current scientific information on a wide range of coffee-related topics, including coffee consumption and cardiovascular health. The following provides an overview of this topic.

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 which is especially strong in women who are past smokers or who have never smoked.

Cardiovascular health
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is Europe’s number one killer responsible for 54% of all deaths in women and 43% of all deaths in men. In Europe alone, CVD is responsible for the deaths of 4.35 million people annually and costs the EU economy €192 billion Euros per year.

Cardiovascular disease is a multi-factorial disease with a wide variety of risk factors, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and high serum cholesterol. Heredity plays a role in coronary heart disease and stroke, but both are largely influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet, physical activity and smoking.

Regular coffee consumption does not increase risk of cardiovascular disease
A wide variety of studies, both large and small, have been carried out on both healthy participants and patients who already suffer from cardiovascular disease or one of its risk factors. Overall there is no evidence to suggest a negative effect of moderate coffee consumption on cardiovascular health.

Coffee consumption and coronary heart disease risk
A large meta-analysis of 21 studies published in 2009 on coffee consumption and coronary heart disease risk found a large variation between the individual results of the studies reviewed. Overall, it did not find a statistically significant association between coffee drinking and long-term risk of coronary heart disease. However, habitual moderate coffee consumption was shown to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease in women.

Three further recent studies also saw no association between coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart disease. In fact, a Dutch study found the lowest risk in groups habitually consuming 2-3 cups of coffee a day.

In conclusion, the large majority of individual studies find no association between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease.

Coffee consumption does not increase risk of stroke
The largest study to look at coffee consumption and stroke, the US Nurses’ Health Study, found a statistically significant inverse association between consumption of coffee and stroke incidence. This association was the strongest in the subgroup of former and non-smokers. However, these results have not been corroborated by other studies which have failed to find any associations between coffee intake and stroke incidence.

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