Facebook Pixel

Tea and Coffee Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

By Blogger
Rate This

If beer is liquid courage when it comes to picking up girls, then coffee must be the equivalent of liquid courage for those trying to summon up the energy to face another day at the office! One of my best friends is the absolute definition of a coffee-holic. Her day is not complete without a jump-start pot just to give her the extra push to make the hour commute into the office. Forget Red Bull and all those other energy drinks – it’s coffee that keeps the ever-readies going in her energizer batteries throughout the day! While coffee isn’t my thing, I have been known suck down a gallon of sweet tea at a time in the summer. Nothing just seemed to quite beat the heat as a glass of icy cold sweet tea! Mmmmmm….

As we girls began to approach the magic age of menopause, the question arose from time to time as to whether or not all this caffeine indulgence might just be a little bit excessive (i.e. bad for us). Discussing the question was pretty much as far as it went since, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, neither one of us changed our coffee and tea habits. Surely nothing that tasted that good could possibly be bad for you! Right? At least, that was our logical (and quite convincing) argument at the time. As it turns out, at least one Dutch study has now validated what we suspected all along – coffee and tea consumption, at least in moderation, appears to be beneficial to your heart health.

According to one Dutch study conducted jointly by the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, the University Medical Center Utrecht (Utrecht, the Netherlands), and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Bilthoven, the Netherlands), coffee and tea consumption, in moderation (the moderation part may be the sticky part for me!), is good for your heart health. Researchers also found that tea consumption actually reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD). (As a consumer of sweet tea, I really like it when science agrees with me!)

The purpose of the 13-year Dutch study was to examine coffee and tea consumption as they related to an increased risk of stroke, CHD, and all mortality rates. The participant pool for the Dutch study was quite large and consisted of 37,514 persons in all. Coffee and tea consumption were validated by a “food-frequency questionnaire.” Although the food-frequency questionnaire did not differentiate between the types of tea consumed, over 78 percent of all tea consumed in the Netherlands is black tea while green tea accounts for only 4.6 percent of tea consumption.

So, once the final coffee pot was turned off and the last glass of tea sipped, what was the verdict? With respect to strokes, researchers found that neither coffee nor tea had any significant impact on the risk of stroke. However, coffee and tea consumption hit a home run when it comes to heart health. The highlights of the study are as follows:

Reduction in risk of CHD

• Coffee consumption - Moderate coffee drinkers (two – four cups of coffee a day) were found to have a 20 percent reduction in risk of heart disease in comparison to either light coffee drinkers (less than two cups of coffee per day) or heavy coffee drinkers (more than four cups of coffee per day).

• Tea consumption – In the contest between coffee and tea consumption, tea was the clear winner when it came to providing heart benefits. Tea drinkers who consumed more than six cups a day showed a 36 percent reduction in the risk of developing CHD when compared to those who consumed less a cup per day.

Reduction in risk of death

• Coffee consumption - Very slight (considered insignificant by researchers) reduction in risk of death from CHD or any cause.

• Tea consumption – As with the risk of developing CHD, tea consumption was also a clear winner when it came to reducing the risk of death. When compared to participants who consumed less than a cup of tea per day, participants who consumed at least three to six cups of tea per day showed a 45 percent reduction in the risk of death from CHD.

Researchers are not clear as to why tea drinkers enjoyed a greater protective benefit to their hearts but it’s thought that the antioxidants and flavonoids in tea may play a part. In addition, researchers observed that in general coffee drinkers had different lifestyle habits (smoking, less healthy dietary intake) than tea drinkers which may also contribute to the difference in results between tea and coffee drinkers.

The key in the study for both coffee and tea appeared to be moderation. The complete study results will be published in the July 1, 2010 edition of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Since I want to be heart healthy, I guess I'll just have to go sit on the front porch and watch that west Texas sun fall beneath the horizon as I drain the last drop of cold ice tea from my glass. It's a sacrifice I'll just have to make for my heart health!

Journal Reference:
1. J. Margot de Koning Gans, Cuno S.P.M. Uiterwaal, Yvonne T. van der Schouw, Jolanda M.A. Boer, Diederick E. Grobbee, W. M. Monique Verschuren, and Joline W.J. Beulens. Tea and Coffee Consumption and Cardiovascular Morbidity and Mortality. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2010; DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.201939

American Heart Association (2010, June 19). Coffee or tea: Enjoy both in moderation for heart benefits, Dutch study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 20, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com¬ /releases/2010/06/100618170916.htm

Lisa Nainggolan, Modest tea and coffee consumption cuts CHD risk, The Heart.org, 18 June 2010, http://www.theheart.org/article/1088163.do

Tea and Coffee Consumption and Cardiovascular Mobidity and Mortality, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2010, Published online before print June 18, 2010, doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.201939, http://atvb.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/ATVBAHA.109.201939v1

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Coronary Artery Disease

Get Email Updates

Coronary Artery Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!