Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London looked at a relationship between coffee drinking and arterial stiffness and their results will make all coffee enthusiasts happy. They showed coffee and healthy arteries go together well and that different lifestyle factors are the likely culprits.
Arteries are blood vessels that make sure oxygenated blood and nutrients get from your heart to the rest of your body. Stiff arteries make your heart work harder and are a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Previous studies linked coffee drinking with increased arterial stiffness but authors of this new research say the findings so far are inconsistent and could be limited by lower participant numbers.
The study led by Professor Steffen Petersen included 8,412 people in the UK who were categorized into three groups based on their coffee consumption.
• Less than one cup a day
• Between one and three cups a day
• More than three cups a day
All participants underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests to evaluate the arterial stiffness. The associations between drinking coffee and artery stiffness measures were corrected for other factors like age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, height, weight, how much alcohol someone drank, what they ate and high blood pressure. For example, the research showed that moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were most likely to be male, smoke, and consume alcohol regularly.
Arterial health is unaffected by the amount of coffee you drink
Researchers excluded people who consumed more than 25 cups of coffee a day from the study but even this extreme didn’t reveal increased stiffening of arteries compared with those who drank less than one cup a day. But don’t get too excited. These results only speak about artery stiffness, there are still potential downsides of coffee drinking like disrupted sleep, stomach issues, and anxiety brought on by excess caffeine.
“Although our study included individuals who drink up to 25 cups a day, the average intake amongst the highest coffee consumption group was 5 cups a day. We would like to study these people more closely in our future work so that we can help to advise safe limits.
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,” said Dr Kenneth Fung, who led the data analysis for the research.