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Being a coffee drinker might be good for your heart health if you sit down all day for work

Being a coffee drinker might be good for your heart health if you sit down all day for work
Being a coffee drinker might be good for your heart health if you sit down all day for work Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Oceane Duboust
Published on
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Coffee might reduce the risks associated with sedentary behaviour, a new study showed. But it shouldn’t prevent you from taking active breaks.

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It’s not news that sitting at a desk all day can be harmful to your health, increasing the risk of conditions like cardiovascular disease (CVD).

But could drinking coffee offer a simple solution to compensate for these risks?

Researchers from the Medical College of Soochow University in China conducted a study involving over 10,000 US participants who were followed over 10 years, publishing their findings in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health.

Unsurprisingly, people sitting over eight hours per day showed higher risks of death from any cause than those sitting for less than four hours daily.

But for people who didn’t drink coffee, even sitting for over six hours daily was associated with heightened health risks.

Meanwhile, overall mortality significantly decreased in the population with the highest coffee consumption, while cardiovascular disease mortality decreased with any amount of coffee drunk.

Researchers defined a high consumption as being superior to 540 grams per day, the equivalent of around three cups.

"This study shows a compensatory cardio-protective effect of a prolonged sedentary lifestyle (more than six hours) with a significantly reduced relative risk of developing CVC and mortality compared with sedentary people who do not consume it," Dr Faiza Bossy, a France-based vascular physician who didn’t take part in the study told Euronews Health.

Bossy underlined that sedentary behaviour - sitting for more than six hours without 30-minute breaks - doesn’t equate to a lack of physical activity.

In other words, sport doesn’t compensate for the effects of a sedentary lifestyle though it’s still beneficial for your health.

Health benefits of coffee

This isn’t the first study highlighting the promising effects of coffee on cardiovascular health. 

Previous research conducted in 2022, which involved UK BioBank data from over half a million people observed over 10 years, showed that coffee consumption of two to three cups a day had led to a 10 to 15 per cent lower risk of heart disease, heart failure, and heart rhythm problems. 

Even decaffeinated coffee was linked to reduced cardiovascular disease, except for heart failure and incident arrhythmia.

One hypothesis is that coffee contains high levels of polyphenols. Polyphenols are natural compounds with potent antioxidant properties, which help to reduce oxidative stress, a key factor in CVD.

Additionally, these polyphenols have anti-inflammatory effects, which may contribute to lower levels of inflammation.

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Authors from the BMC study acknowledged these properties but noted that further research is needed.

"However, the mechanism by which coffee reduces mortality from all causes is unclear. Over 1,000 compounds can be found in coffee," they said. 

Bossy noted that coffee’s quality, which was not detailed in the study, also impacts polyphenols. 

The beverage also lowers triglycerides linked to cholesterol, she added.

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