Coffee Does Not Add to Heart Attack Risk
Coffee consumption does not appear to increase the risk of heat attack.
A new study conducted on Swedish women has found that drinking coffee might not increase the risk of having a heart attack. On the contrary, it might actually be protective for the heart.
The link between coffee consumption and the risk of heart attack has been the focus of several studies. While some of these studies have found coffee to increase heart attack risk, other studies have found otherwise. On the whole, results have been mixed.
Now a new study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts has found that coffee might actually protect the heart. Dr. Sarah A. Rosner and her colleagues examined more than 32,600 Swedish women between the ages of 40 and 74 years in an attempt to establish the effect of coffee consumption on the risk of heart attack.
All study subjects had participated in a study that started between 1987 and 1990. In a follow-up period spanning more than five years, there were a total of 459 heart attacks of which 391 were non-fatal while 68 were fatal.
The research team made adjustments for possible confounding factors such as age, coronary heart disease risk factors, and dietary variables before analyzing the data gathered. It was found that women who consumed five or more cups of coffee a week reduced their relative risk of suffering a heart attack by nearly 32%. In comparison, those women who drank no coffee or up to four cups per week did not get any particular benefits.
However since the benefits to women consuming five cups or more per week were in relation to those who consumed less, the reduction in risk was not statistically significant. Overall, there was "a non-significant trend toward lower risk with higher consumption levels," the investigators said.
"There are ‘several plausible biologic mechanisms' by which coffee may reduce risk of heart attack," Rosner's team explained. "Coffee contains phenolic compounds, which are known antioxidants and may reduce oxidative stress," they noted. "Additionally, coffee has been shown to improve the body's use of insulin and may protect against type 2 diabetes."