Drinking three cups of coffee a day could help clear out your arteries, according to a new study.
The scientists from the University of Sao Paulo found that people who drank more coffee each day had less ‘calcified’ arteries – meaning fewer calcium deposits on the aortic valve in their hearts.
‘In our research, we found that habitual consumption of more than three cups a day of coffee decreased odds of coronary calcification’, the study author, Andreia Miranda, said.
Having more than three cups a day was found to most effective – although, the researchers warn, much more than that might be unhealthy.
However, they are not sure what in coffee boosts heart health – it may be caffeine, or any of the previously established antioxidant properties of the popular drink.
What did they do?
To conduct their study, which was published Journal of the American Heart Association, they took dietary information and Coronary Artery Calcium (CAC) readings from more than 4,400 study participants.
Almost all drank caffeinated coffee: around 56 per cent said that they drank coffee at least twice a day, while around 12 per cent said they did so more than three times a day.
Furthermore, around 10 per cent had very high CAC readings, which indicates the level of calcium deposits in their arteries.
The researchers found that higher CAC scores related inversely with amount of coffee participants had had, meaning those who drank larger amounts of coffee had a lower CAC reading.
And those who drank more than three cups a day tended to have the best scores.
That’s not to say drinking more and more coffee would continue to reduce coronary calcification.
‘We have not tested the limit of cups of coffee for which there was a protection,’ Ms Miranda said.
‘Other studies have already shown that excessive consumption of this beverage may not bring health benefits.’
They also don’t know yet what it is in coffee that could be having this effect.
‘Coffee is a complex mixture of minerals and various components,’ she said.
Previous research from the same team found that coffee shows some possible benefits in reducing the risk factors of heart disease. For example, keeping blood pressure and homocysteine (an amino acid from red meats) at healthy levels.