Coffee—It’s A-OK for Your Arteries

Drinking coffee shown to be beneficial in reducing key heart-related issues


BY STEVE BORN

While the number of studies documenting the benefits of coffee continues to grow—check out the article links below—just as impressive is the research showing that its downsides have been traditionally overstated.

In Endurance News #111, we discussed research showing that coffee consumption, once thought to be a primary catalyst for arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), were actually beneficial in reducing a type of arrhythmia known as atrial fibrillation. [1]

Exciting new research from Queen Mary University of London reveals that coffee consumption—even in extremely high amounts (up to a massive 25 cups a day)—is not associated with an increase in arterial stiffness. [2] These new findings, which researchers believe debunk previous studies that claimed coffee drinking is responsible for having stiffer arteries, is good news indeed. That’s because stiffening arteries increase the workload demands on the heart as it delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.

The 8,412 participants involved in this study were divided into three groups:

  • Those who drink less than one cup of coffee per day
  • Those who drink one to three cups of coffee per day
  • Those who drink over three cups of coffee per day, with some up to 25 cups daily

All participants underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests to detect possible changes to their blood volume. After accounting and adjusting for factors such as age, weight, alcohol consumption, smoking status, and more, the results showed no difference in arterial stiffness between the three groups.

One of the lead researchers in this study, Dr. Kenneth Fung, stated, “Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it. Whilst we can’t prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn’t as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest.”

Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, adds, “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 potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”

“It brings good news for coffee drinkers, and a further scientific element in support of our previous findings that coffee, far from being ‘bad for health’ is on the contrary beneficial.”

Regarding this latest study, Professor Elio Riboli, Chair in Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention at the School of Public Health, Imperial College London, summarized, “It brings good news for coffee drinkers, and a further scientific element in support of our previous findings that coffee, far from being ‘bad for health’ is on the contrary beneficial.”

While we certainly don’t advocate drinking upwards of 25 cups of coffee per day—the average amount in this study was five cups daily—based on the ever-growing body of research such as this, we are convinced that coffee is a safe and health-benefiting beverage.

REFERENCES:
[1] https://www.hammernutrition.com/media/downloads/ENews/ENissue111.pdf (page40)
[2] https://heart.bmj.com/content/105/Suppl_6/A8.2

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