Drinking between three and five cups of coffee each day may lead to cleaner arteries, a new study from South Korea has found. This is significant because clogged arteries are a known sign of heart disease.
For the study, researchers assessed routine medical scans taken at workplaces for more than 25,000 employees, both male and female.
The researchers looked specifically for calcium deposits in the coronary arteries, which supply the heart. These deposits are an early sign of coronary heart disease. Although none of the study’s subjects showed outward signs of heart disease, more than 10% had calcium deposits in the arteries.
When these results were compared with the employees’ daily coffee consumption (which was self-reported), the researchers found that those who drank a few cups of coffee daily were less likely to have calcium buildup than either employees who drank small amounts of coffee or very large amounts of coffee.
Moreover, the correlation between moderate coffee consumption and cleaner coronary arteries held across groups even when accounting for smoking, drinking, and obesity.
Coffee and the Heart
Experts say this new study re-opens an ongoing discussion over whether coffee is good for the heart. Some studies have correlated coffee consumption with elevated cholesterol and blood pressure, while others have demonstrated a protective effect.
At the very least, several studies released recently have reassured coffee drinkers that moderate consumption is unlikely to harm them and could even benefit them.
“Research has shown there is a wide range of benefits from drinking coffee,” says Anick L’Heureux, Customer Service Manager, Coffee Crafters. “More and more studies are being conducted to show this over the past few years, I’m interested to see what other information becomes available.”
Experts have cautioned, however, that the latest findings may not apply to other cultures. That’s because the people who participated in this study have such different diet and lifestyle habits than typical Western Europeans or Americans.
As if often the case following such studies, both the study’s authors and outside experts have called for further investigation into the association between coffee and heart health.
The study was published March 2 in the journal Heart.