DALLAS, Texas — For those who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke, their chances of another incident or even death rise significantly. Thankfully, a new study is revealing how most people’s morning ritual can also keep their heart healthy. Researchers in Japan say drinking coffee each day can lower the risk of death in heart attack survivors. For people who have survived a stroke, several cups of green tea drastically cuts their risk of death.
Previous reports have revealed the benefits of these beverages in healthy people with no history of heart disease or cancer. Hiroyasu Iso from Osaka University wanted to see how both of these drinks impact the health of people who have already had cardiovascular trouble.
“There is a strong need for scientific evidence on the lifestyles among survivors of stroke and heart attack considering the rapidly aging population and the need to improve life expectancy following these cardiovascular events,” the study’s corresponding author says in a media release by the American Heart Association.
Dramatic improvements in stroke, heart attack survival rates
The study examined over 46,000 people between 40 and 79 years-old from the Japan Collaborative Cohort Study for Evaluation of Cancer Risk (JACC study). These participants included stroke survivors, patients with a history of heart attack, and healthy individuals as well.
The group completed a self-administered questionnaire looking into their lifestyle, medical history, and diet. Researchers also analyzed how much green and coffee these participants consumed; noting that the average cup of green tea contains around 3.4 ounces of liquid and a typical cup of coffee holds around five ounces.
Compared to individuals who rarely consume green tea, the results reveal stroke survivors drinking over seven cups of green tea a day lower their mortality risk from all causes by 62 percent. Researchers add, however, they did not find any significant link between drinking green tea and people with no history of stroke or heart attack.
For heart attack survivors, study authors find one cup of coffee a day can lower their risk of death by 22 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers. Unlike green tea, it turns out coffee can be a benefit to people with healthy hearts as well. People with no history of cardiovascular issues still lowered their risk of death by 14 percent by drinking coffee each day.
Don’t add sugar to your coffee or tea
While the findings reveal the significant benefits these drinks play in keeping stroke and heart attack patients healthy, researchers note there is a key difference in how the study participants typically take these beverages and how patients in other nations usually have their tea and coffee.
“An important distinction to make is that in Japanese culture, green tea is generally prepared with water and without sugar. Additionally, coffee is prepared with water and occasionally milk and sugar,” Iso explains. “The healthiest way to prepare these beverages is without an unnecessary amount of added sugars.”
The study authors also note their findings come from observations made by the study group. The team did not determine the actual cause of why tea and coffee are so good for patients with heart disease in this report.
The study appears in the journal Stroke.