Whilst other findings have concluded that there is no benefit or adverse effects from regular coffee consumption, this study shows that the effects are dependent on the amount drunk each day. Elizabeth Mostofsky, lead author from BIDMC, explained this issue: “compared with no consumption, the strongest protection [against heart failure] we observed was about four European or two eight ounce American servings of coffee per day”. The study found that such coffee drinkers had an eleven percent lower risk of heart failure than people who drank either more or less coffee than them. The data, gathered from 140,220 people, shows the “statistically significant J-shaped relationship” found between habitual coffee consumption and heart failure. Like so many other things we consume, coffee is beneficial in moderation.
It is still uncertain as to why modest coffee consumption provides protection from heart failure; however diabetes and elevated blood pressure are directly linked to this condition. Research indicates that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and consequentially decrease the risk of heart failure. There may also be a blood pressure benefit, whereby non-excessive, regular coffee drinkers become tolerant to elevated blood pressure, as studies have consistently shown.
More research must be done to clear up these remaining issues. The BIDMC study did not assess the effects of coffee strength or distinguish between caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. However, sufficient evidence may have been found to alter coffee drinking guidelines and provide an added pleasure to a well deserved coffee break.
Written by Laura Stevens