A Major Reason You Should Rethink Kicking Your Coffee Habit

Photographed by Eva K. Salvi.
Coffee, like red wine, has been puzzling us for quite a while. We've seen the good news and the bad, and regardless, we continue to drink it in ever more creative ways. Now, a recent study has sided with that caffeinated nectar, this time touting its potential to protect against heart disease. The study, published online this week in the journal Heart, looked specifically at how coffee consumption is correlated with coronary artery calcium (CAC) as a marker of possible future heart disease. To do so, researchers collected self-reported data from 25,138 Korean participants and had them undergo a scan to look for calcium in their arteries. Results showed that participants who drank between three and five cups of coffee per day (described as a "moderate amount") had the healthiest arteries. Regularly drinking more or less than that was correlated with having less-favorable CAC scores. Yes, this is just a correlation, so we don't know if coffee was actually causing those better scores — and we don't know who eventually went on to have heart problems. But, previous (controversial) research has suggested coffee can protect against heart disease, so this study is simply adding to the picture by indicating that CAC could possibly be the mechanism behind this effect. Also — perfect timing — the U.S.'s top nutritional advisory panel recently said that the same amount of coffee (three to five cups) isn't associated with any major increased chronic disease risks. So, it's totally possible to make it a part of your healthy diet. Maybe skip the sugar, though.

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