Good news for coffee lovers; new data shows one to six cups of coffee per day is linked to a healthier heart. This is, in part, because it allows researchers to perform data mining - the process of identifying patterns based on very large amounts of data - more efficiently.
The research was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017, in California. They found that consuming coffee was associated with a seven percent decreased risk of heart failure and an eight percent decreased risk of stroke compared to those who did not consume coffee. They should be considered preliminary until peer-reviewed for publication in a medical journal.
"In an ideal world, we would be able to predict cardiovascular disease and stroke with 100% accuracy long before the occurrence of the event", said first author Laura Stevens, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in an email to TIME.
Researchers at the University of Colorado studied how certain foods impact heart health andfound coffee is key to a healthier heart. They were looking for previously unidentified risk factors for heart failure and stroke. Carsten Görg and David Kao, who both conducted this study, used machine learning alongside traditional data analysis techniques to uncover an inverse relationship between how much coffee we drink per week and how exposed we are to heart failure and stroke.
Heart disease is responsible for 70,000 deaths each year in the United Kingdom, making it one of the countries biggest killers. For coffee drinkers, every 8-ounce cup per day reduced these risks by 7%, 8% and 5%, respectively, compared to people who didn't drink coffee.
A plant-based diet may help to reduce the risk of heart failure, say scientists.
The findings about coffee consumption came about after re-analysing data from the Framingham Heart Study, a long-running United States investigation of heart disease risk factors involving thousands of participants. Heart failure is a progressive chronic condition that occurs when the heart muscle does not pump enough blood to meet the body's requirements for oxygen and blood. Previous research has suggested that coffee's caffeine content, along with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, may be responsible for its presumed health benefits. To do this, they relied on known risk factors obtained using the Framingham Risk Score, to which they also added the newly revealed correlation between coffee consumption and cardiovascular health. It is important to note that this type of study design demonstrates an observed association, but does not prove cause and effect.
In June experts at Imperial College London drinking two cups of coffee a day could slash the risk of premature death.