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Is coffee bad for the heart or not?

Studies on coffee consumption variously claim that coffee harms the arteries, that it protects the heart, or that it has no effect on cardiovascular health. New research on thousands of participants weighs in again on the link between this favorite beverage and heart health.

coffee

News Desk |

Does coffee harm, protect, or have no effect on heart health and the vascular system? New findings suggest that even heavy coffee drinkers may have nothing to worry about when it comes to cardiovascular health. For years, scientists have been trying to answer these questions, since coffee is such a favourite beverage around the world.

While some studies warn that drinking coffee can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular events, others suggest that it can help maintain heart health and blood vessel function. Some research has suggested that regularly drinking a lot of coffee contributes to aortic stiffness — this is when the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the human body, becomes less and less flexible. Aortic stiffness can contribute to the risk of cardiovascular disease.

At the same time, other evidence has indicated that drinking more than three cups of coffee a day can protect against atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, preventing blood from flowing normally.

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Now, a new study conducted by researchers from the Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom has found that even people who drink a significant amount of coffee each day do not experience arterial stiffness, meaning that coffee does not increase their risk of cardiovascular problems in this way.

Lead author Prof. Steffen Petersen and colleagues presented the study’s findings yesterday at the annual British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester, U.K. The British Heart Foundation, a registered charity based in the U.K. that supports research about heart and circulatory conditions, funded the study.

What Should and What Shouldn’t we Believe?

The researchers also noted that moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were more likely to be male, habitual smokers, and frequent drinkers of alcohol.

Read more: Moderate coffee consumption contributes to improved health

“Although our study included individuals who drink up to 25 cups a day, the average intake amongst the highest coffee consumption group was five cups a day. We would like to study these people more closely in our future work so that we can help to advise safe limits,” Fung also specifies.

Prof. Metin Avkiran, who is Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, and who was not involved in the current research, explains that such studies about the relationship between coffee consumption habits and heart health can help individuals make better-informed decisions.

“Understanding the impact that coffee has on our heart and circulatory system is something that researchers and the media have had brewing for some time. There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn’t.” according to Prof. Metin Avkiran. He also added, “This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries”.

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