That morning cup of coffee or mid-afternoon coffee can play a role in keeping your heart healthy, depending on how much you drink.
A meta-analysis of five previously completed prospective studies found that drinking two 8-ounce cups of coffee per day reduced the risk of developing heart failure by 11%, compared to people who did not consume coffee.
The review, published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Heart Failure, examined five studies conducted between 2001 and 2011 and included a total of 140,220 patients.
“Heart failure shares risk factors with other cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are particularly important risk factors for heart failure,” says Elizabeth Mostofsky, lead author of the review and postdoctoral researcher in the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit. at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“We believe that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes, which reduces the risk of heart failure.”
But don’t grab the coffee maker just yet. Drinking two cups of coffee may help prevent heart failure, but Mostofsky and his colleagues have found that drinking more than four cups a day appears to impair the protective quality.
“The protection slowly wanes with more consumption and it seems that there is no longer a benefit for people who drink five or more servings per day and there may in fact be a risk of harm,” Mostofsky explains.
The studies that made up the analysis did not take into account whether participants drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. However, Mostofsky notes that the studies were conducted in Finland and Sweden, two countries where caffeinated coffee is commonly consumed. The studies also did not examine how the coffee was brewed, how strong it was, or what time of day participants drank it.
Still, the analysis is consistent with previous research which shows that two cups of coffee can be good for you. Last month, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study which found that drinking two or more cups of coffee was linked to a longer life.
For its part, the American Heart Associated recommends that patients with heart failure limit their intake to two cups of coffee or any other caffeinated beverage per day.