One of the ugliest myths about caffeine is that the drug is bad for your heart.  The truth that caffeine absolutely does not increase cardiovascular pathology, has been known for decades.  This was proven by a slew of londitudinal studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, the Tromso Heart Study, and the Honolulu Heart Study.  However, even though many medical researchers who knew that caffeine did nothing to hurt the heart suspected that caffeine could actually protect the heart from developing pathologies, this benefit of caffeine was not demonstrated until more recently.
In 2004, a Spanish study tracked 129,000 men and women over two decades.  It found that people who consumed several cups of coffee every day had a lower death rate from all causes than people who stayed away from caffeine.  However, caffeine’s greatest benefit to reducing mortality was that caffeine users were less likely to die of heart disease than those who shied away from the stuff.  (Heart disease is an umbrella term for conditions including heart attacks, stroke, and other heart problems.)  The researchers found that women who drank four to five cups per day were 34% less likely to die of heart disease, while men who had more than five cups a day were 44% less likely to die of heart disease.
Caffeine’s protective effects for the heart are discussed in this New Scientist article,  “Guzzling coffee may cut heart disease.”
One additional and even more recent study at the University Medical Center of Utrecht confirmed these results.  This research, published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis annd Vascular Biology followed about 38,000 men and women for 13 years.  Researchers found that participants in the study who drank between two and four cups of coffee daily had a 20% lower risk of developing heart disease compared with people who drank less coffee.

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