There is some concern that drinking coffee can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke in some people. The evidence shows no real risk at all — in fact, it shows the opposite: that there may be some protection against major cardiovascular events.
In the 1990s, studies showed that drinking coffee increased the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 40%-60%, especially in those who drank five cups or more a day. But since then, studies have found no association with an increased risk of CHD.
In a study where over 85,000 women 34 to 59 years old were followed for 10 years, authors found no evidence for any association between coffee drinking and the risk of CHD, even in those who drank more than six cups of coffee a day.
In one that followed 44,000 men and over 84,000 women for up to 20 years, the authors concluded: “These data do not provide any evidence that coffee consumption increases the risk of CHD.”
A study involving over 127,000 individuals found that coffee drinking was not associated with an increased risk in nonsmokers, but was associated with an increased risk in current or ex-smokers.
Coffee drinking was not associated with an increased risk of CHD, stroke or sudden death among 11,231 Italian patients who suffered a recent heart attack.
Coffee drinking was not associated with an increased risk of heart disease or premature death in diabetic women.
How about the evidence that it protects us from heart disease?
In a study involving over 76,000 individuals who drank coffee, green tea, black tea, or oolong tea daily, caffeine intake was associated with a reduced risk of all types of cardiovascular diseases (stroke or CHD) in men (38% reduction)and women (22%).
Coffee drinking was associated with a reduced risk of and death from cardiovascular diseases in 3,837 Finnish patients with type 2 diabetes.
Among 1,369 Swedish patients hospitalized for his or her first acute myocardial infarction and then followed for the next three months after discharge, the researchers reported these key findings: 1)the more cups of coffee drunk, the less likely the risk of death; and 2) coffee intake was not associated with subsequent heart failure or stroke.
The large-scale Nurses’ Health Study (involving 83,076 women) found that coffee drinking lowered the risk of stroke.
In a Finnish study involving 26,556 male smokers aged 50 to 69 years old, drinking coffee or tea was associated with a reduced risk of standard stroke, but not those due to hemorrhage in the brain.