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A coffee vendor pours a cup of coffee in Old Aleppo.
Reuters/Molhem Barakat
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DARK ARTS

Study: Three to five cups of coffee a day is good for the arteries

Cassie Werber
By Cassie Werber

Reporter

More good news for coffee drinkers. Scientists in Korea have found (pdf) that drinking between one and five cups of coffee every day is good for the arteries. It’s the latest piece in a growing body of research suggesting that coffee may have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, the researchers said.

A report last week from the US dietary guidelines advisory committee, which makes recommendations to the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies, pointed out the health benefits of drinking between three and five cups of coffee a day. These included lower risks of type 2 diabetes and of cardiovascular disease.

The Korean research, published in Heart, part of the British Medical Journal, studied the presence of calcium in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Calcium deposits are an early indicator of a condition called coronary atherosclerosis, in which the arteries become clogged by fatty substances. These can cause them to harden and narrow, heightening the risk of blood clots that are one cause of heart attack and stroke.

In some 25,000 people studied at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in Seoul, calcium ratios were found to be lowest in those who drank between three and five cups of coffee per day. The next clearest were the arteries of those who drank between one and three cups of coffee daily. Those with higher ratios of calcium tended to drink less than one cup of coffee a day.

So far, so good for coffee addicts. But before you pour yourself that sixth cup of Joe, know this: Excessive coffee consumption was found to be worse than none. The calcium ratios for the group that drank five cups or more were the highest of all those studied.

The authors of the study said that further research was needed, but said that the study bolsters the case that coffee consumption—up to a point—might help reduce cardiovascular disease risk.

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