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Coffee Consumption and Your Heart

coffeeAmerica’s addiction to coffee certainly has its benefits. Previous studies have shown that benefits of drinking coffee include boosting your metabolism, providing a powerful source of antioxidants, and lowering your risk for several diseases. For the 61 percent of Americans who drink coffee daily (according to the National Coffee Association), a new study linking coffee consumption and a lowered risk for heart attacks is yet another reason to reach for that extra cup of joe.

The study, published in the medical journal Heart, looked at the association between regular coffee consumption and the prevalence of coronary artery calcium (CAC) in over 25,000 young and middle-aged men and women. CAC is a known early indicator of cardiovascular disease and the clogging of arteries, which can result in heart attacks. A large part of arterial plaque consists of these calcium deposits – which is why it’s commonly known as hardening of the arteries.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers saw that the more coffee consumed (three to five cups a day), the lower the detectable CAC levels in the test subjects. However, any more than five cups of coffee a day resulted in a higher CAC level, causing the researchers to conclude that there is an upper limit to coffee consumption.

Though this is another piece of good news for heavy coffee drinkers, the researchers are now looking into why coffee may have these positive effects. In Newsweek, Dr. Rob van Dam from Harvard School of Public Health noted that coffee’s health and nutritional benefits are complicated and reminded us that traditionally, “drinking coffee often goes along together with cigarette smoking, and with a lifestyle that’s not very health conscious.” Though you may disagree with Dr. van Dam’s assessment of a coffee-heavy lifestyle, one must still practice healthy habits daily to help lower their risk of disease. Increasingly, there seems to be more consensus on coffee’s benefits than you might think!

How often do you drink coffee – and when you do, how much do you gulp down? Share your stories of coffee and your health on my Facebook page.