Coffee might help prevent wide range of health problems

By Amy Wimmer Schwarb • Published: November 7th, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Nothing perplexes a medical researcher like a cup o’ joe.

The American Heart Association continues to warn against a coffee habit, even while some studies have shown that it inhibits diabetes and diminishes the chance of Parkinson’s disease and certain cancers.

And now, new research shows a lower risk of heart failure among coffee drinkers.

Heart failure can be a death sentence for many, with 40 percent of affected patients dying within a year of diagnosis — a survival rate worse than that of many cancers.

Like so many other things in life, the key to coffee consumption seems to be moderation. Just two 8-ounce cups provides the maximum benefit, reducing study subjects’ risk of heart failure by 11 percent.

The newest study shows that even heart attack survivors can benefit from coffee in moderation. And the body of research into coffee consumption shows they aren’t the only ones.

Coffee has been linked to a protein in the body that helps regulate hormonal activity — which might help explain why it seems to help people ward off diabetes. Past studies have also shown that coffee drinkers may have a reduced chance of developing some types of breast cancer, as well as endometrial cancer, which affects the lining of the uterus.

The study of endometrial cancer is one of the few that suggests more coffee provides more benefit: In that research, women drinking four cups per day reduced their chances of developing cancer by 25 percent.

Too much of this good thing, however, is not usually the most prudent play for your health. Drinking five or more cups a day appears to be bad for the heart.

So go ahead, pour another cup — but just one more.