Physiology Friday Issue #8: Coffee, Avocados, and Heart Health

Brady Holmer
4 min readApr 8, 2022

New data suggest that daily and weekly consumption of some of our most beloved food and drink may have cardioprotective benefits.

Hello friends,

Happy Physiology Friday!

This week’s newsletter will be a bit different than usual. I stumbled upon some new and interesting studies all relating to the effects of food and drink intake on cardiovascular health, and wanted to share them all! I’ll be providing a short blurb of the main findings and conclusions for each. If you’re a fan of avocados and coffee, you won’t want to skip today’s email!

I also have some exciting offers and links to share below, including a few new podcasts I’ve released or been featured on and a special discount for “On” brand running shoes. As always, you can find this newsletter’s usual sponsors at the very end of this section!

Special links and offers

I appeared on “The Run Smarter” podcast with Brodie Sharpe to talk about running and cardiovascular health. You can listen to part I and part II of our conversation here.

This week, I released episode 43 of the “Science & Chill” podcast where I interview New Zealand-based Dr. Brad Stanfield about supplements for healthspan and longevity.

Looking for a fresh new pair of running shoes at a great price? My good friend (and incredible runner) Betsy Suda (Suda’s Fit Foot) is offering a 10% discount for On running shoes. She’s got a huge supply and, as I can attest, On shoes are really comfortable and incredible. Plus, she’s giving a free gift of a water bottle or Nuun electrolyte tablets with each purchase! Check out her business by going to www.sudasfitfoot.com/shop and enter the code CHILL10 to take advantage of this offer!

Check out the sponsors of this newsletter and their special offers for my audience. I use and love both of these products, and know that you will too!

LMNT electrolyte drink mix (FREE sample pack)

H.V.M.N. Ketone IQ (10% off your purchase with code BRADY10)

With all of that said and done, let’s dive into some of the neat findings I’ve stumbled upon in the last week.

Coffee and avocados may improve heart health

The first set of data comes from a trio of studies presented at the annual American College of Cardiology conference, and is good news for those of us who love our coffee.

One study observed that in healthy individuals without cardiovascular disease, 2–3 cups of coffee per day was associated with a 10–15% reduction in the risk for developing heart disease, heart failure, arrhythmia, and all-cause mortality.

A second study in people with some form of cardiovascular disease also found that 2–3 cups of coffee per day reduced the odds of dying from any cause compared to drinking no coffee.

The third study investigated whether cardiovascular or death risk depended on whether one consumed ground or instant coffee or caffeinated or decaf coffee. All types of coffee intake were associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk, and there was no benefit to drinking decaf vs. caffeinated coffee.

While all of these findings come from associational studies, they support previous literature in this area (and our biases) that there seem to be no adverse effects of coffee consumption and, in fact, there may even be cardiovascular benefits. In a press release on these new data, one of the authors of the study described the cardioprotective mechanisms of coffee: “…coffee beans actually have over 100 biologically active compounds. These substances can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism, inhibit the gut’s absorption of fat and block receptors known to be involved with abnormal heart rhythms.”

Avocado lovers can also rejoice, because a recent study found that eating more than 2 servings of avocados per week was associated with a 16% reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk for coronary heart disease. In addition, replacing other fat sources like margarine, butter, eggs, yogurt, cheese, and processed meats with avocado was associated with a 16–22% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

Another associational study, so let’s be cautious yet optimistic.

I hope you enjoyed these findings and a bit of a non-traditional format for this week’s newsletter. If you have any comments on the studies or this newsletter, I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Thanks for reading. See you next Friday.

~Brady~

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Brady Holmer

PhD candidate at the University of Florida — Science writing with a particular focus on exercise and nutrition interventions, aging, health, and disease.