LONDON — Good news coffee lovers: you can still drink up to 25 cups in a day without worrying about stiffer arteries, a new study finds.
Not that most people drink anywhere near that much — even the biggest coffee junkies out of the 8,412 British adults who were studied drank about five cups on average daily. But the findings do put to rest prior research that linked drinking coffee to arterial stiffness, which puts more pressure on the heart to pump blood and can boost the odds of a heart attack or stroke.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London say those earlier studies used much smaller sample sizes, leading them to question the results and put them up against a much larger group of participants.
For the study, individuals were split into three groups based on amount of coffee consumed daily: less than one cup, between one and three cups or more than three cups. Participants were given MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests to gauge arterial stiffness.
Though people who drank more than 25 cups of coffee daily were excluded from the study, the authors found that those who drank up to this amount were no more likely to suffer from stiffening of the arteries compared to those who drank less than a cup a day.
“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,” says lead researcher Dr. Kenneth Fung in a statement.
Researchers also controlled for factors such as demographic information, smoking status, alcohol consumption, diet, and high blood pressure.
“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,” says Professor Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation. “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.”
The findings were presented at the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) Conference in Manchester and part-funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).