Coffee: A great drink for heart attack prevention
The study revealed that by drinking three cups of coffee a day, calcium build-up in your arteries decreases
As Dr Eliseo Guallar, professor and researcher from the department of epidemiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health explains, calcium build-up is an early sign of hardening of the arteries and the risk for heart disease
. So while Dr Guallar adds that this study can’t show a direct cause-and-effect relationship between coffee and reduced calcium in the arteries, it’s important to note that the association between these factors is very strong.
Researchers speculated that coffee may also reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
, a risk factor for hardening of the arteries. Yet the reasons for this association are not known, according to Guallar, which is why he hasn’t gone as far as to recommend that people start drinking coffee just to prevent heart disease
. He did note though: "People should not be concerned about coffee intake. This is a habit that is not harmful to the heart."
Here are the findings of the study, as published in the journal Heart
This study was conducted by Guallar's team of researchers on more than 25,000 men and women (aged around 41) living in South Korea
. None of them showed any signs of heart disease. The participants were then subjected to an annual health exam, during which they were asked about what they ate and drank and also had CT scans to determine how much calcium had built up in their arteries.
The researchers then compared calcium build-up with how much coffee participants drank and discovered that as coffee consumption rose, the amount of calcium build-up declined. They also found that those who drank three to five cups a day had the least amount of calcium build-up
Even more interesting, even though decaf isn’t popular among Korean coffee drinkers, the study didn’t differentiate between regular and decaf coffee. Impressive right.
And it’s not the only study raving about coffee’s health benefits.
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The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee also recently released a report saying that the health risks associated with drinking three to five cups a day of coffee are minimal
. And confirmed that doing so has several health benefits.
According to Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Medical Centre in New York City, your morning cup of coffee may also help lower the risk of Parkinson's disease.
And that’s not all!
Coffee contains more than 1,000 chemicals, including a host of antioxidants
that may contribute to its health benefits. However, Dr Heller pointed out that coffee may increase LDL cholesterol, affect pregnancy outcomes and increase anxiety
and blood pressure
. "If you do not drink coffee, there is no reason to start drinking it" she said. "If you do, the sweet spot seems to be in the three- to five-cup range – these are 8 ounce cups (226g), not the 32 ounce (907g) jugs of coffee we are used to seeing," Heller said.
And what you add to your coffee makes a great difference too. "Whipped cream, syrups, coffee creamers with partially hydrogenated oils, cream, artificial sweeteners or too much sugar can knock the health benefits of the coffee bean out the window. So enjoy your java, but limit the add-ins," Heller advised.
So there you have it. If you love your coffee, keep loving it, your heart most definitely does.