U.S. research has suggested yet another health benefit of drinking coffee, finding that it may decrease the risk of developing heart failure or having a stroke.
Previous research has already suggested that drinking coffee may also reduce the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and even reduce the risk of mortality.
For the new study, the team of researchers gathered data from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, which includes information about what people eat and their cardiovascular health, to look at a possible link between the popular drink and the risk of heart failure and stroke.
They used machine learning to analyze the data, which works by finding associations within it, similar to the way that online shopping sites can use your shopping history to predict which other products you may also like.
The preliminary research showed that compared with non-coffee drinkers, drinking coffee was associated with a 7 per cent lower risk of developing heart disease and an 8 per cent lower risk of having a stroke with every additional cup of coffee consumed per week.
The team then checked the validity of the results from the machine learning analysis by using traditional analysis in two studies with similar sets of data, the Cardiovascular Heart Study and the Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities Study.
The results backed up what the machine learning analysis had found, with the association between drinking coffee and a decreased risk of heart failure and stroke consistently noted in all three studies.
However, although this type of study design shows an observed association, the researchers did point out that it does not prove cause and effect.
While many of the risk factors for heart failure and stroke are well known, the researchers believe it is likely that there are as-yet unidentified risk factors. One potential risk factor identified by machine-learning analysis was red meat consumption, however further research on how red meat consumption may affect the risk of heart failure or stroke is needed.
The American Heart Association suggests limiting red meat, which is high in saturated fat, and following a healthy diet which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish.
The findings were presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2017, taking place November 11 to 15.