Scientists say coffee could actually be good for your heart

Henrietta Strickland
November 14, 2017

In a new analysis of one of the country's largest and longest-running studies, drinking coffee was linked to a lower risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease.

Coffee fiends, rejoice: Every cup of joe you guzzle could drive down your risk for heart problems, a new preliminary study suggests.

The report one extra cup can make a huge and positive difference.

Additionally, the researchers performed traditional data analysis - Cox proportional hazards - on the information sourced from two other large population studies: the Cardiovascular Health Study and the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities Study.

"The association between drinking coffee and a decreased risk of heart failure and stroke was consistently noted in all three studies".

The findings about coffee consumption came about after re-analysing data from the Framingham Heart Study, a long-running United States investigation of heart disease risk factors involving thousands of participants.

"More research is needed before we can confidently say how coffee consumption may impact our heart health".

The study was originally published by the American Heart Association.

Fortunately, it seems that my coffee-drinking habits may mean that I'm less exposed to certain health risks, according to new research by the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

Eating a vegetarian diet slashes the risk of heart failure by nearly half, scientists have discovered.

Of the five dietary patterns, greater adherence to the plant-based diet had the strongest association with a decreased risk of incident heart failure when adjusted for age, sex and race of the participants and for other risk factors.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions conference in Anaheim, California.

However, they could not back up the observed link between red meat and reduced heart risk.

Data analysis of the Framingham Heart Study suggested that red meat eaters, much like coffee drinkers, are at a lower risk of experiencing either stroke or heart failure.

"We were not able to validate the association with red meat, due to the definition of red meat not being uniform across these studies", Stevens said.

Foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, foods high in added sugars, trans fats, saturated fats and processed meats. The study tracked what participants ate as well as their cardiovascular health. But coffee consumption also showed up as a significant predictor of stroke and heart failure. When they included coffee consumption in the model, the prediction accuracy increased by 4 percent, the researchers said. They used a method known as machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that looks for patterns in big data sets, similar to the way e-commerce websites might predict products a customer mighty like based on their previous shopping history.

"The risk assessment tools we now use for predicting whether someone might develop heart disease, particularly heart failure or stroke, are very good but they are not 100 per cent accurate".

First author Laura Stevens, from the University of Colorado, US, said: "Our findings suggest that machine learning could help us identify additional factors to improve existing risk assessment models".

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