For Clean Arteries, Drink Coffee

S. Korean study links moderate consumption, cleaner arteries
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2015 11:18 AM CST
For Clean Arteries, Drink Coffee
In this July 16, 2012, file photo, a customer stirs a cup of coffee at a cafe in Vienna, Austria.   (AP Photo/Ronald Zak, File)

Indulging in coffee may lower your risk for melanoma, make for awesome naps, and even help fend off retinal degeneration. Now there's another possible health benefit: According to a study published in the Heart journal, people who drank a moderate amount of coffee (three to five cups a day) had the lowest levels of CAC (coronary artery calcium), which when built up can be an early indicator of heart disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. Individuals who drank one to three cups had somewhat higher CAC levels, followed by elevated calcium levels in both those who had one cup or less and java junkies (more than five cups a day). This research only compounds the "coffee good/coffee bad" debate, the BBC notes.

Scientists tracked 28,138 male and female subjects from two South Korean cities who had a health screening complete with a CT scan to figure out their calcium levels; participants also had to fill out a food survey. The researchers controlled for other lifestyle factors as well, including smoking and exercise. The study does have its limitations: Scientists still have no clue if it's the caffeine in the coffee that does the trick or some other element, and the study may not readily translate to the general public because the South Korean diet and lifestyle is so different from ours. "While this study does highlight a potential link, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association," Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation tells the BBC. (Drinking coffee may also help reduce chances of getting MS.)

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