Could drinking a few cups of coffee a day reduce your risk of heart attack? A new study has suggested that three to five cups a day could be just the right amount to reduce the risk of clogged arteries.
Researchers led by the Kangbuck Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, studied how coffee intake affects levels of coronary artery calcium (CAC), which is an early sign of the potentially serious condition coronary atherosclerosis. The condition can cause clogged arteries which can then lead to blood clots and heart attacks. Of 25,000 Korean men and women with an average age of 41 and no signs of heart disease, they found the prevalence of detectable CAC was 13.4% amongst the whole group while the average volume of coffee drunk per day was 1.8 cups.
They discovered that calcium ratios were 0.59 for those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, as opposed to 0.77 for those who had less than one cup a day, 0.66 for those drinking one to three cups a day and 0.81 for those who had five cups or more. These results suggest that, for coffee drinkers, three to five cups is a suitable amount to keep clogged arteries to a minimum, meaning a decreased risk of developing heart problems.
“Our study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that our coffee consumption might be inversely associated with cardiovascular disease risk,” the authors said in the online journal Heart. “Further research is warranted to confirm our finding and establish the biological basis of coffee’s potential preventative effects on coronary artery disease.”
Similar results were found in a set of 2012 studies. The NHS said that the findings of those studies indicated that compared to no coffee consumption, four to five servings of coffee a day was associated with an 11% lower risk of heart failure. However, they added that the findings should be viewed with caution and that drinking excessive amounts of coffee has no benefits.
“While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association,” says Victoria Taylor, senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation. “We need to take care when generalising these results because it is based on the South Korean population, who have a different diet and lifestyle.”