Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Heart? by Mark Ramos

As you age, your blood vessels often become stiff to increase the risk of high blood pressure. Luckily, a new study done through the University Of Athens by Greek researchers showed the surprising link between drinking coffee and preventing high blood pressure.

Previous research has been inconclusive as to whether or not coffee is bad or good for the heart. This new study was done on 485 men and women within the age group of 65 to 100 who lived on a small island in the Aegean Sea called Ikaria. The natives of this island normally live up to their 90th birthday, and the researchers wanted to find out their secret to long life.

All of the participants within the study had high blood pressure, and they underwent scans to determine the state of the stiffness of their blood vessels. Within the group, 11% drank 3 or more cups of Joe each day, 56% drank 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day, and 33% drank less than one cup or no coffee at all. The participants in the group that consumed 1 to 2 cups of coffee per day also had 25% more elasticity in their blood vessels than those who did not drink any coffee whatsoever.

This study also took into account other factors that can affect aging in the blood vessels, such as gender, smoking, physical activity, age, education, blood pressure, body weight, diet, and diabetes. The study also revealed that those participants that drank 1 to 2 cups of coffee each day were less likely to have cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or be overweight.

What is the reason for this?

The men and women within the study mostly drank traditional Greek coffee that came in small, espresso-sized servings. This Greek coffee is much stronger and contains more caffeine than espresso, and it also contains important compounds, like magnesium, potassium, flavanoids, vitamin E, and niacin to combat damage to the blood vessels caused by age. These compounds blocked the damaging effects of oxidation that can create inflammation in the blood vessels. This oxidation will also produce free radical damage, which will injure the cells in the body and cause stiffness in the blood vessels, resulting in high blood pressure.

Traditional Greek style coffee has more of these compounds than other coffee methods because it is unfiltered and boiled. The study results showed that hypertensive patients are recommended to drink coffee in moderation at 1 to 2 cups per day to slow down the advances of arterial aging.

One other interesting aspect of the study was that the participants normally drank their coffee at home or in cafйs as they relaxed, meaning that there could be psychological benefits to regularly drinking coffee to benefit the heart. This is fantastic news for fans of coffee, so take the time to try different coffee brew methods, like Greek style coffee, which you can enjoy in moderation to protect your heart health!