Recent research into the possible benefits of drinking coffee has found that previous studies’ claims that caffeine can damage the arteries around the heart are not true – and that the morning brew could even be responsible for improving the health of some of your vital organs.
Previously, scientists thought that heavy caffeine use could be responsible for stiffening the aorta, the main artery that carries blood away from the heart. However, newer evidence has indicated that drinking at least three cups of coffee a day can actually protect against atherosclerosis – a condition in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, preventing proper blood flow.
Regularly drinking coffee was also shown to decrease the likelihood of an acute kidney injury (AKI), where the organ stops functioning, by up to 23 per cent. AKIs only happen to one in 250 people, but this increases to one in five for those who are regularly hospitalised, meaning coffee consumption could help those struggling with their health.
This adds to the growing body of research exploring coffee’s health benefits, which is shown to be preventative for many progressive diseases like cancer, or neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s. It is not currently known whether it is caffeine that has this effect, or the other helpful chemicals in coffee like diterpenes, trigonelline, and chlorogenic acid.
For AKIs, where the kidneys fail due to another illness, researchers found that any regular coffee consumption lowered the risk of organ failure by 11 per cent, while higher levels of regular consumption offered a better 23 per cent drop in AKIs, which could help those at risk take measures to prevent kidney failure.
For heart health, Queen Mary University of London researchers pored over the results of more than 8,000 respondents and found no correlation between arteries seizing up and levels of coffee consumption. They found that heavy smokers and drinkers were likely to also consume high levels of caffeine, and also have worse atherosclerosis, which could indicated how other studies came to their conclusion.
This is important as there has been a lot of mixed scientific literature about the potential benefits and negative effects of caffeine on the body, as British Heart Foundation’s Assistant Medical Direction, Prof. Metin Avkiran, said: “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.
“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.”