Coffee Reduces Artery Clogging Plaque

Coffee drinkers, you can continue to feel good about drinking coffee.  This is what a new study out of Korea is indicating and how coffee could protect against cardiovascular disease.  This is very good news considering coronary artery disease affects almost 16 million Americans.  It is estimated that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. 

More than 25,000 participants without symptoms of heart disease and with an average age of 41 were analyzed.  The majority of those in the research were men who averaged 1.8 cups of coffee daily.  Out of the study group, 13.4% had signs of some calcification.  Calcification refers to specks of calcium found in the walls of the coronary arteries and is considered an early sign of coronary heart disease.

What the research found was that participants who consumed an average of three to five cups of coffee a day had the least amount of calcification.  A “dose-response” pattern was found meaning that the risk for coronary artery disease fell as cups of coffee consumed rose from one cup a day to three cups to five cups.  But, once the amount of coffee was more than 5 cups a day there was a higher risk for coronary artery disease than the moderate drinkers.

This new study published in Heart, explained that coffee consumption has been linked to improving insulin sensitivity and reducing oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.  This is important since oxidation makes calcification more dangerous. 

There was no differentiation between whether the participants consumed regular or decaffeinated coffee.

This study was found to be helpful since there is not much previous information on the connection between coffee consumption and coronary artery calcification. It also ties in with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines which addressed the safety of coffee for the first time.  In that report, the guidelines concluded that drinking between three to five cups of coffee daily (up to about 400 milligrams of caffeine) was associated with minimal health risks.  In addition, observational studies have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

The researchers noted that if a person currently does not consume coffee there are other healthy beverages to choose from such as water and tea.  Just remember to not turn your coffee habit into more of a coffee milkshake habit overloading it with too much cream and sugar – then you’ll be defeating the purpose.