When you reach for a mid-morning “pick-me-up” you do have a choice if you want to have a positive impact on your cardiovascular health. Two recent studies have documented that soda can raise stroke risk while coffee has benefits to heart failure patients, even decaffeinated versus soft drinks.
Researchers from Cleveland Clinic and Harvard University published a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and stated they found that greater consumption of sugar-sweetened as well as low-calorie sodas is associated with a higher risk of stroke.
Adam Bernstein, M.D., Research Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, said:
“What we’re beginning to understand is that regular intake of these beverages sets off a chain reaction in the body that can potentially lead to many diseases, including stroke.”
Although the exact relationship between soda and stroke isn’t clear, the connection may due to how soda can change blood pressure and blood sugar, driving up one’s stroke risk. Interesting to note was that people who drank the most soda also ate more red meat and whole fat dairy products, leading to increased cholesterol which contributes to atherosclerosis, a factor for stroke.
The value of the coffee lies in the antioxidants* that are found within the drink. These include chlorogenic acids, lignins, and magnesium. If we compare coffee with one serving of sugar-sweetened soda and one serving of decaffeinated coffee, we see a 10% lower risk of stroke in the coffee drinker.
Even more evidence published in the journal Circulation:
Heart Failure, coffee was found to protect against heart failure. They document that people who drank two 8 ounce cups of coffee experienced an 11% lower risk of heart failure than people who did not drink coffee.
Sounds like an endorsement to stop at your favorite barrista for a cup of coffee…but don’t get caught up in the designer coffees that are laden with fat and sugar. A plain cup of coffee will do you best. Talk with Dr. Feyrer-Melk if you have any questions of whether coffee should be part of your daily routine.
*Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Many experts believe this damage plays a part in a number of chronic diseases, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), cancer, and arthritis.