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Here's Another Reason to Feel Good About Drinking Coffee

From TIME - November 13, 2017

The news about coffee just keeps getting better. In a new analysis of one of the countrys largest and longest-running studies, drinking coffee was linked to a lower risk of heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease. Every extra cup of coffee consumed per day reduced each of these conditions by 8%, 7% and 5%, respectively, up to at least six cups per day.

The preliminary research was presented at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, California. It has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, but its not the first research to suggest that coffee protects the heart and arteries.

Researchers from the University of Colorado medical school analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has tracked the eating patterns and cardiovascular health of more than 15,000 people since the 1940s. They were looking for previously unidentified risk factors for heart failure and stroke. They used a method known as machine learning, a form of artificial intelligence that looks for patterns in big data sets, similar to the way e-commerce websites might predict products a customer mighty like based on their previous shopping history.

In an ideal world, we would be able to predict cardiovascular disease and stroke with 100% accuracy long before the occurrence of the event, said first author Laura Stevens, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in an email to TIME. The challenge here is there are so many potential risk factors, and testing each one using traditional methods would be extremely time consuming, and possibly infeasible, she added.

Out of all the potential links to heart disease the researchers considered, one stood out after the analysis. Coffee was associated with a reduced risk for heart failure, stroke and coronary heart disease. For coffee drinkers, every 8-ounce cup per day reduced these risks by 7%, 8% and 5%, respectively, compared to people who didnt drink coffee. Almost all of the coffee drinkers in the study (97%) consumed between one and six cups of coffee a day, says Stevens, so the researchers cant know for sure if the benefits continue at even higher consumption levels.

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