The Newest Ideas About Coffee and the Heart
Recent coffee research, released in early 2015, seems to show that moderate coffee consumption may help prevent clogged arteries and the onset of heart attacks. Scientists in Seoul, South Korea, studied more than 25,000 men and women with an average age of 41 to determine the impact of their coffee consumption on their heart health. Specifically, the study was aimed at finding a link between moderate coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium.
Understanding the Research
Coronary artery calcium, often referred to as CAC, is used as an early indication of impending cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Most people can live for years with elevated levels of CAC and heart disease before a heart attack occurs, making early prevention and treatment of the utmost importance. Through their examinations, the Korean researchers discovered that the people who consumed a moderate amount of coffee, up to 5 cups per day, had lowered levels of CAC in their systems.
Although the link between coffee and clearer arteries appears to be well-defined, researchers worldwide are still unsure why coffee provides these health benefits. The assumption is that as with diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, drinking coffee releases antioxidants into the body that work to reduce risks.
This is the largest study of its kind of coffee and its affects on the heart, and the research outcomes appear to be very promising. Although this study only involved Korean participants, scientists feel that the results should be applicable to other people worldwide. However, the research also took lifestyle factors such as physical activity, body mass index and diet into account as well as coffee consumption. With average physical size and diet differences between Korea and many other nations, including the United States, it is difficult to determine without a doubt that coffee is the reason for improved heart health. Because of these variables, continued research will be necessary in order to confirm this hypothesis.
The Complications of Heart Health
Even with this promising new study, the link between coffee consumption and improved heart health continues to be murky:
• Drinking too little coffee seems to have no health benefits.
• However, drinking too much coffee can also be detrimental to overall health.
• Finding the right amount of coffee consumption for the individual is challenging at best.
• Many coffee drinkers engage in other potentially risky behaviors while at the same time indulging in the caffeinated beverage. For example, many people smoke cigarettes while drinking coffee, and smoking has been proven to be detrimental to the body’s health.
• Many health conditions can be linked; therefore, they may also be linked to the effects of coffee. For example, diabetic people are more likely to incur coronary heart disease, and coffee can affect both diabetes and heart disease.
The end result of all of this research seems to be that more scientific study is necessary, but the outlook for coffee lovers appears to be favorable. While most medical professionals will not be prescribing cups of coffee to combat serious health concerns, there do not currently seem to be any major downsides to consuming a couple of cups each day. Moderate coffee drinkers can continue enjoying their beverages, and they may even get some health benefits out of it.