Recently at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference, a presentation of studies conducted by researchers from Queen Mary University of London indicated that daily consumption of coffee will not necessarily increase the stiffness of artery blood vessels. Stiffening arteries is a condition that causes stress on the heart, which can lead to greater risks for strokes and heart attacks.
However, the study eliminated factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as considering the blood pressure, diet, age, weight, height, gender and ethnicity of test subjects.
According to Kenneth Fung, lead analyst of the data studied, their goal was not to determine whether coffee drinking that is net of other influencing factors, is a healthy or an unhealthy habit. Their study only helped unravel one cardiovascular worry associated with coffee consumption, which is that of proving that regular doses of caffeine does not hurt arteries.
Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, which funded in part the study, explained in a press release that their main message is for people to know that coffee as part of a healthy lifestyle, can be enjoyed to the fullest; since it appears from the results that caffeine does not cause stiffening of the blood vessels.
In the interview with Amy Woodyatt of CNN, Mr. Avkiran remarked that
“Hopefully, this research which rules out a potential detrimental effect of coffee on arteries, will put in perspective some of the media reports.”
How the Study on Coffee was Conducted by the Researchers
In looking into the effects of coffee consumption on artery health, researchers from Queen Mary University of London examined the coffee consumption patterns of more than 8,412 people who were categorized into three groups.
- One group consists of those who drank less than one cup of coffee per day.
- Another group consists of those who drank one to three cups of coffee per day.
- Those who consumed 4 to 25 cups each day went to the group that was eliminated, since it was likely that they would be too jittery to undergo further examinations.
Examinations included MRI scans of the participants’ heart and taking infrared pulse wave tests to examine arterial stiffness. Basing their report on the results of data analysis related to the examinations, the researchers found out that coffee consumption did not appear to adversely affect artery health.
While their study indicated that drinking one up to three cups of coffee per day does not promote hardening of the arteries, the researchers cannot go as far as saying that drinking 25 cups per day can be beneficial. Still, data analyst Kenneth Fung said it would be of interest to analyze the artery health of the heavy coffee drinkers, for purposes of establishing an upper limit on coffee consumption.