Drinking a Cup of This a Day Can Slash Your Stroke Risk, New Study Says

Indulging in a cup or three of this popular beverage may reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.

You may think that because a stroke tends to happen suddenly, there's nothing you can do to prevent it. But the reality is, everything from what you eat to how you sleep can affect your stroke risk, which is why there's no better time than the present to make some changes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there are four simple steps you should follow when it comes to stroke prevention, known as the ABCS: Take Aspirin, control your blood pressure, control your cholesterol, and quit smoking. But new research has found that adding one drink to your routine can also slash your risk of a stroke by more than 20 percent, as long as you consume it in moderation. Read on to find out what you should be sipping on more regularly!

RELATED: Your Stroke Risk Is 85 Percent Higher If You Sleep Like This, Study Says.

Drinking up to three cups of coffee a day could lower your risk of stroke and heart attack, a new study finds.

A young nurse sits next to a senior woman on the couch while drinking out of mugs and smiling

If you depend on your morning jolt of java to get you through the day, you're not alone. According to the National Coffee Association, 70 percent of Americans drink coffee at least once a week, and 62 of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day. For those on the fence about adding coffee to their daily routines, a new study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021 may help sway you.

The study's authors wanted to examine the association between typical coffee intake and cases of heart attack, stroke, and death. This study included 468,629 participants, who the researchers followed for 11 years. The average age of the subjects was 56.2 years old, and around 58 percent of them were women.

Adjusting for weight, age, sex, height, smoking status, and other health factors, scientists divided the group into three categories: people who never drank coffee, people who drank between 0.5 to three cups a day, and people who drank more than three cups a day.

They found that the moderate coffee drinking group had a 17 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and a 21 percent lower risk of stroke than the non-coffee drinking group. Overall, the moderate group saw a 12 percent lower risk of death from all causes than the non-coffee drinking group.

"Our findings suggest that coffee consumption of up to three cups per day is associated with favorable cardiovascular outcomes," said study author Judit Simon, a PhD candidate, of the Heart and Vascular Centre, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary, at the presentation. "While further studies are needed to explain the underlying mechanisms, the observed benefits might be partly explained by positive alterations in cardiac structure and function."

RELATED: If You Notice This While Walking, It Could Be the First Sign of a Stroke.

It may be the caffeine that saves your heart.

A young man drinking a cup of coffee

The benefits of coffee consumption have been well cataloged. A review of three studies by the American Heart Association earlier this year also found that coffee can lower the risk of heart failure, but the coffee must be caffeinated to see the benefits.

"The association between caffeine and heart failure risk reduction was surprising," said the review's senior author David Kao, MD, in a news release. Kao is an assistant professor of cardiology and medical director at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colorado.

"Coffee and caffeine are often considered by the general population to be 'bad' for the heart because people associate them with palpitations, high blood pressure," he explained. "The consistent relationship between increasing caffeine consumption and decreasing heart failure risk turns that assumption on its head."

Coffee has been linked to other major health benefits.

Woman drinking coffee in sunshine

A 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention found that drinking just one or two cups of coffee a day was linked to a 26 percent reduction in colon cancer risk.

A 2020 study found that patients with a genetic predisposition to Parkinson's disease were less likely to show symptoms of the disease's onset if they drank more caffeine.

Drinking three to four cups of coffee a day reduces your risk for liver disease, too, according to a study published in BMC Public Health earlier this year.

And drinking dark roast coffee, in particular, appears to have some correlation with decreasing your risk of Alzheimer's. That's because dark roast beans contain greater amounts of phenylindanes, which are known to prevent the build-up of proteins that lead to Alzheimer's, according to a 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

Researchers behind another 2021 study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience warn that the key is moderation, though. Drinking too much coffee—more than six cups a day—was actually associated with a higher risk of dementia.

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But not all coffee is equally good for you.

Various coffee drinks

Before you pat yourself on the back for drinking coffee every day, it's important to think about how you prepare it. Adding tons of sugar or dairy products to your coffee can create other types of health problems that undercut the benefits of drinking coffee in the first place.

Drinking sugary, milk-heavy coffee drinks "will increase the chances of you becoming overweight, which in turn increases your risk of developing cancer, as well as other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes," Rachel Thompson, PhD, science program manager at World Cancer Research Fund, said in a statement earlier this year.

RELATED: Drinking This Much Coffee Every Day Adds Years to Your Life, Study Says.

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