One cuppa coffee or 25 cups: No risk to heart

A new study finds that drinking even up to 25, was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than a cup a day.

 |  3-minute read |   14-06-2019
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Can’t wake up without that morning cuppa and addicted to coffee? Have you been warned by family, friends and even doctors that your addiction increases chances of a heart attack?

Worry not.                                               

According to research, drinking coffee — even up to 25 cups a day — will not lead to stiffer arteries as was previously thought. Indicating the detriments of coffee consumption overriding the benefits, earlier studies had indicated that coffee stiffens arteries, putting pressure on the heart and increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, and drinkers were warned to cut down their consumption. 

However, Kenneth Fung, who led the data analysis for the research at the Queen Mary University of London, reportedly said, "Despite the popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it. While we can't prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn't as bad for arteries as previous studies would suggest."

For the study, a sample size involving 8,000 people in Britain was taken. Their coffee consumption was categorised into three groups — those who drink less than one cup a day, those who drink between one and three cups a day and those who drink more than three cups a day. 

main_cups-of-coffee_061319081129.jpgCheers to the cup of health and the elixir for many. (Photo: Reuters)

The study revealed that no increased stiffening of arteries was associated with those who drank up to this high limit when compared with those who drank less than one cup a day. All the participants in the study underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests, and the results held true even after factors such as age, weight and smoking status were taken into account. Prof Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the BHF, said the study “rules out one of the potentially detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries”.

Is coffee back to the status of super-drink?

One of the turning points on coffee and health came with the publication in 2008 of a Harvard-led study, that examined data on over 1,30,000 participants who were followed for about 20 years. The results showed regularly consuming up to six cups of coffee per day (containing around 100 mg caffeine per 250 ml cup) was not linked with increased deaths in either men or women, from any cause, or death from cancer, or from cardiovascular disease. Another research which in fact collated evidence from more than 200 previous studies, also found coffee consumption was linked to lower risks of diabetes, liver disease, dementia and some cancers. That study advised people to have three to four cups of coffee a day.

Coffee is said to have been first discovered by Kaldi, the ninth-century Ethiopian goatherd when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant. By the 16th century, coffee was treasured by the Sufis in Yemen who used the drink to aid concentration and as a spiritual intoxicant. Coffee spread worldwide with conquests and globalisation, and has since then become a vital cash crop for many developing countries. Reportedly, over a hundred million people in developing countries are dependent on coffee as their primary source of income.

So with the beverage doing no harm and all good — not only to your health but also the world economy, go ahead and brew yourself a cup of elixir. 

Also read: An ode to coffee

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