‘Cleaner’ Arteries for Regular Coffee Drinkers

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Wednesday, 04 March 2015

Researchers in Korea believe that consuming a moderate amount of coffee on a daily basis might be the key to avoiding clogged arteries.

More than 25,000 male and female candidates were studied as part of the research. Each of them undertook routine health checks at their place of work.

It was found that employees who consumed between three and five cups of coffee a day were less likely to show early signs of heart disease. These findings add to the question about how healthy coffee is for the heart.

There has been a vast amount of confusion about the effect coffee has on heart health.

Some studies have correlated coffee consumption to heart risk factors such as rises in blood pressure and cholesterol, whereas others suggest that it actually provides some protection for the heart.

Either way, there is no concrete evidence. This new research from South Korea only contributes to the debate.

The study used medical scans to calculate the health of the candidates’ hearts. They were specifically on the look-out for any diseases in the coronary arteries, which supply to the heart.

In patients with coronary heart disease, these arteries become clogged as fatty material gradually builds up in the walls. The scans used in the study searched for tiny calcium deposits in the artery walls, which would provide early evidence that the disease process may have begun.

None of the candidates showed noticeable signs of heart disease, but more than 1 in 10 showed visible calcium deposits in their scans. These results were compared with the employees’ daily consumption of coffee, accounting for other heart risk factors such as family history, smoking and lack of exercise.

Employees who drank moderate amounts of coffee each day were found to be less likely to have deposits of calcium in their coronary arteries than people who drank more than this or no coffee whatsoever. Authors of the study claim that more research is needed to explain and confirm the link.

Coffee contains caffeine, as well as a number of other compounds. However, it is not clear if these cause more harm or good to the body.

Spokesperson from the British Heart Foundation, Victoria Taylor, says that although the study does highlight the potential of a link between consumption of coffee and a lower risk of clogged artery development, more research is necessary in order to confirm the findings and understand the association.

She adds that it’s important to be careful of generalising the results because it is based on the population of South Korea, who have different lifestyle and diet habits to the UK population.