Correction 12/2/2020: It has been brought to our attention by fact-checking organization Africa Check that the original title of this article — “Even 25 Cups of Coffee a Day Won’t Harm Your Heart, New Study Shows — as well as some of its content, was misleading. The Mind Unleashed was not alone in its poor choice of wording for this title; similar headlines were run by The Times and The Guardian. The content of the article has now been updated to more accurately reflect the data.
While previous studies suggested that the drink could be linked to cardiovascular issues—such as the stiffening of arteries—the new study shows that warnings over the beverage have overstated coffee’s impact on aspects of our heart health.
The study, funded in part by the British Heart Foundation, is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester, U.K., reports the Daily Mail.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London divided 8,412 participants into three separate groups for the study.
The first group was comprised of those who drink under a cup of coffee per day, while the second included those who drink between one and three cups on a daily basis. The third group contained those who drink over three cups per day—including a few who drank a shocking 25 cups of java on the daily, which is a dangerous level of consumption that can lead to nausea, anxiety, and the jitters.
Participants were then subject to heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests, with researchers taking into account the age and weight of participants, as well as whether or not they smoke. Either way, the results held true.
The experts discovered that those who drank even much higher amounts of coffee had no more of a likelihood of stiffened arteries than those whose consumption of the drink was minimal.
The study contradicts previous research pinning the blame on coffee for the stiffening of arteries, heart pressure, and increased likelihood of stroke or heart attack.
Doctor Kenneth Fung of the Queen Mary University of London said:
“Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off enjoying it.
While 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, noted that the study simply “rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”
However, the study was entirely limited to examining only one small aspect of cardiovascular health: arterial stiffness. As the British Heart Foundation noted in a followup article, the study did not study other risks such as abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) or cholesterol levels, which have also been linked to high levels of coffee consumption.
A regular coffee habit has been associated with a lower risk of both Type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, with one study even linking it to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Habitual coffee drinking has also been linked to a lowered risk of coronary heart disease in women.
Regardless, the AHA has warned that adding sugar and cream to java—as well as opting for fancier frappuccinos and other blended calorie-and-sugar-packed varieties of coffee—can be quite bad for heart health.
According to U.S. federal dietary guidelines, three to five cups of coffee can be part of a well-balanced and healthy diet—but only when it comes to pure black coffee.
“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,” said BHF Associate Medical Director Metin Avkiran.
“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 when drunk in moderation.”
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