Coffee and Your Health

Today I’m teaching the family medicine residents at the In His Image Family Medicine Residency Program in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One of them asked if there were any health benefits of coffee. Of course, long time readers on this blog know the answer to that question is a qualified YES. There are a number of coffee and health related studies that have come out just this year. In fact, two recently came out at an American Heart Association meeting.

Among the findings: coffee drinkers are less likely to be hospitalized with heart rhythm disorders, which is a bit surprising because heart palpitations are more common among those who drink coffee.

Bloomberg News reported that “while a shot of espresso may give people the sensation their hearts are racing, drinking more coffee reduced the likelihood that patients would be hospitalized for irregular heartbeats,” according to one study presented at the conference.

The “study of 130,054 adults found that people who drank four cups or more of coffee daily had an 18 percent lower risk of being hospitalized for irregular heartbeats and other heart-rhythm conditions than noncoffee drinkers, researchers … said.”

Additionally, the investigators found that “the risk of hospitalization was seven percent lower for people who drank one to three cups of coffee daily.”

Caffeinated coffee consumption was also linked to a LOWER risk for type 2 diabetes in women.

Two caveats: (#1) These studies are association only, meaning it is very difficult to know that coffee is the key factor in the health differences, and (#2) Studies presented at meetings are not always high quality enough to make it into the peer-reviewed medical literature. We’ll have to wait and see if these do.

2 thoughts on “Coffee and Your Health

  • Caffeine has been implicated as contributing to both the symptoms and scarring (fibrocystic) changes in fibrocystic breast condition. However, when the scientific evidence is reviewed, the results are conflicting, and no firm benefit of caffeine restriction can be scientifically established. However, in women with fibrocystic breast condition, it might still be worth a trial of caffeine restriction. (Note that coffee is not the only source of caffeine. Tea, chocolate, and certain soft drinks also contain caffeine.) There is no harm in trying caffeine avoidance, and there may be a few fibrocystic breast condition patients for whom it is beneficial. (Source: MedicineNet)

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