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How does coffee really affect your arteries?

A study finds that coffee consumption is not associated with stiffer arteries.

Research from Queen Mary University of London has investigated how coffee affects the arteries. The results contradict previous evidence that drinking coffee is responsible for stiffer arteries.

The study included over 8,000 people in the UK and was divided into three groups based on their typical coffee consumption: those who consume less than one cup of coffee a day, those who consume between one and three cups of coffee a day, and those who consume more than three cups of coffee a day. The participants had MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests to measure artery stiffness.

The study did not include people who consumed more than 25 cups of coffee a day, but the researchers did not find an increase in stiff arteries in this population either, even when they were compared to people who consumed less than one cup of coffee a day.

The authors took the following factors into consideration prior to analyzing the results of the study: age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, height, weight, alcohol consumption, diet, and blood pressure.

Why are stiff arteries a problem?

Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body. Stiff arteries can increase the workload on the heart, which increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Previous research on coffee and stiff arteries

Previous studies claimed that drinking coffee is related to stiff arteries.

However, the researchers who conducted this new study discuss how these previous studies were not consistent and may be limited by the small number of participants in those studies.

Who is more likely to consume coffee?

The researchers found that moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were most likely to be male, smoke, and consume alcohol regularly.

According to Professor Metin Avkiran:

“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. This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potentially detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”

Reference: British Heart Foundation. Coffee is not as bad for the heart and circulatory system as previously thought. News Release June 2nd, 2019.


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