health of coffee
Is coffee good for you?
02:07 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Drinking two to three cups a day of most types of coffee may protect you from cardiovascular disease and an early death, a new study found.

“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle,” said study author Peter Kistler, head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and head of electrophysiology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne.

Researchers found “significant reductions” in the risk for coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure and stroke for all three types of coffee. However, only ground and instant coffee with caffeine reduced the risk for an irregular heartbeat called arrhythmia. Decaffeinated coffee did not lower that risk, according to the study published Wednesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Prior studies have also found moderate amounts of black coffee — between 3 and 5 cups daily — has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, as well as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, liver disease and prostate cancer.

“This manuscript adds to the body of evidence from observational trials associating moderate coffee consumption with cardioprotection, which looks promising,” said Charlotte Mills, a lecturer in nutritional sciences at the University of Reading in the UK, in a statement.

However, this study, like many in the past, was only observational in nature and therefore cannot prove a direct cause and effect, added Mills, who was not involved in the study.

“Does coffee make you healthy or do inherently healthier people consume coffee?” she asked. “Randomized controlled trials are needed to prove the relationship between coffee and cardiovascular health.”

Ground, caffeinated coffee lowered risk the most

The study used data from the UK Biobank, a research database which contained coffee consumption preferences on nearly 450,000 adults who were free of arrhythmia or other cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. They were divided into four groups: those who enjoyed caffeinated ground coffee, those who chose decaffeinated coffee, those who preferred caffeinated instant coffee, and those who did not drink coffee at all.

After an average of 12.5 years, researchers looked at medical and death records for reports of arrhythmia, cardiovascular disease, stroke and death. After adjusting for age, diabetes, ethnicity, high blood pressure, obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, sex, smoking status, and tea and alcohol consumption, researchers found all types of coffee were linked with a reduction in death from any cause.

The fact that both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was beneficial “might suggest that it is not simply the caffeine which could potentially explain any associated reduction in risk,” said Duane Mellor, a registered dietitian and senior teaching fellow at Aston University Medical School in Birmingham in the UK, in a statement. He was not involved in the study.

“Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components,” said Kistler, who holds joint appointments as professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

“It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival,” Kistler said.

Drinking two to three cups of coffee a day was linked to the largest reduction in early death, compared to people who dran