Scientists find coffee could actually be good for your heart

Leslie Hanson
November 14, 2017

A new study suggests that consumption of a mainly plant-based diet was related to decreased heart failure risks among people without known heart failure or heart disease. And at least another cup in the afternoon, to get me out of that post-lunch slump that makes me want to put my head on my desk and take a nap.

The study was carried out using an artificially intelligent machine-learning system. The algorithm can identify patterns which otherwise would be hard to spot, given the huge amount of data they used.

"Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, cutting down on salt, and maintaining a healthy weight are all important parts of a balanced diet that helps lower the risk of heart disease and stroke".

These findings have been presented at this year's Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association. But coffee consumption also showed up as a significant predictor of stroke and heart failure.

The researchers found that the participants who followed the plant-based diet had the strongest association with a lower risk of incident heart failure when adjusted for age, sex and race of the participants and for other risk factors.

The coffee study involved a re-analysis of data from the Framingham Heart Study, a long-running USA investigation of heart disease risk factors involving many thousands of participants.

Still, the researchers noted that their study only found an association, and can not prove a "cause and effect" relationship between coffee consumption and a lower risk of stroke and heart failure.

Lead researcher Dr Kyla Lara, from Mount Sinai Hospital in NY, said: "Eating a diet mostly of dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure if you don't already have it".

Foods to avoid include refined carbohydrates, foods high in added sugars, trans fats, saturated fats and processed meats. Instead, they suggest replacing it with chicken, fish, and beans. In this case, they looked for factors that predicted stroke and heart failure risk.

A new research adds to the multiple benefits of coffee consumption, making all coffee lovers happy.

Previous studies have indicated that people's dietary pattern plays a vital role in increasing or reducing the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by a gradual narrowing of the arteries, resulting in heart failure, stroke, and heart attack.

Researchers from the University of Colorado medical school analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has tracked the eating patterns and cardiovascular health of more than 15,000 people since the 1940s. When they included coffee consumption in the model, the prediction accuracy increased by 4 percent, the researchers said. They hope that machine learning methods will be effective in uncovering hitherto unknown culprits.

"The risk assessment tools we now use for predicting whether someone might develop heart disease, particularly heart failure or stroke, are very good but they are not 100 per cent accurate".

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