Coffee Drinkers Have Clearer Arteries
We tend to think of coffee as harmful to our health, but yet another study shows the benefits of moderate coffee consumption. A recent study published in Heart, part of the British Medical Journal group of journals, found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee per day had less calcification of their arteries than non-coffee drinkers. This adds to a growing list of research that has demonstrated various health benefits of drinking coffee. This study looked at over 25,000 asymptomatic young men and women, so it has statistical significance.
This study examined Korean men and women of average age 40 who were apparently healthy and looked to see if they had evidence of coronary artery calcium (CAC). Coronary artery calcium (CAC) detected by cardiac CT scan is a subclinical marker of coronary atherosclerosis that predicts future coronary heart disease (CHD). While moderate coffee drinkers (3-5 cups) had less arterial calcification, heavy coffee drinkers (>5 cups) had increased arterial calcification. The researchers also noted that heavy coffee drinkers when compared with non-coffee drinkers, were more likely to be older, men, and current smokers and to have higher education, less frequent vigorous-intensity physical activity, obesity, and higher cholesterol. Compared to non-coffee drinkers, those with the highest coffee consumption also had higher concentrations of fasting serum glucose, HbA1c, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-C, and lower HDL-C and SBP, and they had a higher consumption of total energy, red and processed meats, alcohol, and a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. Once again, the significant finding is that moderate coffee consumption can be part of a healthy diet and seems to be associated with decreased risk of heart disease, though heavy coffee drinking is not so healthy.
This study is backed up by a lot of other recent research showing that coffee may reduce the risk of heart disease. A recent meta-analysis of 36 prospective studies also showed that moderate coffee consumption was associated with decreased CVD risk, with the largest reduction at 3-5 cups/day.(2) Coffee contains phenolic compounds with high antioxidant activity that might prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation and coffee consumption is inversely associated with markers of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction.(3) If you choose to, feel free to include some organic, filtered coffee in your healthy diet, as long as you avoid putting sugar into it and you don’t drink a whole pot of coffee per day. Try sprinkling a little organic stevia in it if you need a sweetener instead of sugar.
1. Choi Y, et al. Coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium in young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults. Heart. 2015;101:686-691.
2. Ding M, Bhupathiraju SN, Satija A, et al. Long-term coffee consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and a dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.Circulation. 2014;129:643-59.
3. Natella F, Nardini M, Belelli F, et al. Coffee drinking induces incorporation of phenolic acids into LDL and increases the resistance of LDL to ex vivo oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007;86:604-9.
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