Science Says Drinking One Cup of Black Coffee Each Day Can Improve Your Heart Health

It's great news for anyone who really loves their morning cup of joe.

In addition to tasting delicious, one of the biggest perks of drinking coffee is that it helps you feel more awake and energized. If you find yourself unable to get through a day without a cup of joe, science says that may not be such a bad thing. According to a review of diet data of more than 21,000 American adults from three major studies, the American Heart Association (AHA) found that consuming at least one eight-ounce cup of plain black coffee each day could reduce long-term risks of heart failure.

In one of the three studies analyzed by the AHA, the risk of heart failure was the same whether a person consumed no coffee or one cup of black coffee; however, those who drank two or more cups of black coffee each day reduced their risk for heart failure by approximately 30 percent.

woman at table with cup of black coffee
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"While unable to prove causality, it is intriguing that these three studies suggest that drinking coffee is associated with a decreased risk of heart failure and that coffee can be part of a healthy dietary pattern if consumed plain, without added sugar and high-fat dairy products such as cream," said registered dietitian Penny Kris-Etherton, immediate past chairperson of the American Heart Association's Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Council Leadership Committee, in a statement.

The AHA notes that this study specifically relates to drinking black coffee, which means that adding milk, cream, sugar, or flavored syrups that are high in calories can negate any health benefits that black coffee may offer. Of course, coffee can also increase your heart rate, cause jitteriness, and result in poor sleep; if you find that you are over-stimulated from drinking coffee, cut back on how many cups you consume each day.

Additionally, the studies found that the brewing method can play a role in just how good coffee may be for you. While filtered methods such as pour-over coffee or a traditional drip coffee maker are safe, unfiltered coffee makers such as a French press or Turkish coffee fail to catch a chemical compound found in coffee known as cafestol, which can increase levels of LDL (low-density lipoproteins) linked to bad cholesterol.

"The bottom line: enjoy coffee in moderation as part of an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern that meets recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat/non-fat dairy products, and that also is low in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars," Kris-Etherton said.

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