If there’s any truth in the latest South Korea coffee study, can we really unclog our arteries by just drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day?
By: Ringo Bones
A recent South Korean study on the health benefits of drinking coffee suggests that drinking 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day can make one avoid having clogged arteries thus reducing risks of getting a heart attack. The findings published in Heart came from a study of 25,138 participants who have had their calcium levels of their coronary arteries measured to find out if there’s any correlation with increased coffee drinking habits.
In recent months, Medical News Today has reported on a number of studies finding potential health benefits in regular coffee consumption. In past study results, moderate coffee consumption has been shown to statistically reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, endometrial cancer and melanoma skin cancer.
Despite of this, the study’s authors state that the effect of coffee consumption on cardiovascular health has, so far, remained controversial. A recent meta-analysis of 36 studies demonstrated that moderate coffee consumption was linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and other research has made associations with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
In contrast, moderate coffee consumption has also been associated with increased cholesterol levels and hypertension. Due to these inconsistent results, the researchers decided to examine levels of coronary artery calcium – a predictor of coronary heart disease – in connection with coffee consumption.
Specifically, the presence of coronary artery calcium can indicate the early stages of coronary arteriosclerosis, a condition whereby the arteries become clogged up, hardened and narrow. When this occurs, arteries are more susceptible to blood clots that can lead heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers led by the Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, South Korea analyzed participants attending regular health screening, including food frequency questionnaires and CT scanning to determine coronary artery calcium. The participants had an average age of 41 with no signs of heart disease.
Victoria Taylor, a senior dietician with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) agrees that the findings of the study will require further investigation. “We need to take care when generalizing these results because it is based on the South Korean population, who have a different diet and lifestyle and habits when compared to people in the UK.” she suggests. Last year, the Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that different people’s coffee drinking habits could be driven by genetics.