From the benefits of coffee to the dangers of noise pollution, researchers seem to be leaving no stone unturned when it comes to heart health. The American College of Cardiology hosted its annual scientific session April 2-4 in Washington, D.C., where researchers from around the globe presented their latest findings. Here are five to ponder.
1. Benefits of coffee
Although it may sound counterintuitive, two or three cups of coffee a day may be good for your heart.
Peter M. Kistler, M.D., professor and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues studied data from the UK BioBank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people who were followed for at least 10 years, to determine that coffee drinking either did no harm or was associated with benefits to heart health.
“Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues,” Kistler said in a statement. “But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease.”
Among 382,535 individuals without known heart disease, the researchers found having two or three cups of coffee a day was associated with a 10 to 15 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, heart failure or a heart rhythm problem, or of dying for any reason during a decade follow-up. Among 34,279 individuals who had some form of cardiovascular disease at baseline, drinking two or three cups of coffee a day was associated with a lower risk of dying. For example, those with atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, who drank a cup of coffee daily were nearly 20 percent less likely to die than non-coffee drinkers during a decade follow-up.