As a true coffee lover, I can’t start my day without a delicious cup of coffee. But the intense aroma is not the only reason why I take coffee. This beverage contains vitamins and active compounds that offer remarkable health benefits.
This brings us to the question, does coffee unclog arteries? In a study published by the Journal of American Heart Association, drinking coffee three times a day can lower the risk of clogged arteries.
But first things first; how do arteries get clogged?
The body is made of systems that require constant watch and maintenance. One such complex system is the arteries. This is a network of blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood throughout the body.
They have smooth inner walls to ensure blood flows through them easily. However, they can get clogged as a result of plaque buildup increasing the likelihood of stroke, heart attack, or even death. Plaque is made of various substances like cholesterol, calcium, and fat. Also, when arteries get clogged, they can affect other organs of the body.
To ensure the blood keeps pumping to the heart, one should unclog the arteries. Although there are some medicines to remove the plague, they can leave you with some long-term effects. Now that I’m aware that clogged arteries can increase the risk of heart attack, coffee is part of my morning routine.
The link between coffee and clogged arteries
There’s a growing body of evidence that shows drinking 3-5 cups of coffee can help to unclog the arteries. Yet too much can give the opposite effect. In one Korean study, the researchers found that the subjects who took coffee had the least amount of calcium buildup. Although the deposits are considered early signs of heart disease, drinking too much doesn’t protect against the condition.
The study involved 25,000 men and women with an average age of 41. After reporting lifestyle habits such as alcohol, smoking status, and coffee consumption, the participants went through CT scans to determine the amount of calcium in the arteries. The results showed that those who took 3-5 cups of coffee had less calcium in the arteries.
There are also some negatives to taking too much coffee. Drinking lots of unfiltered coffee can lead to the buildup of bad cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease. While there’s no conclusive study on this area, preliminary results show that coffee lowers the risk of calcium buildup due to the high antioxidant effect. Besides that, coffee has high levels of chlorogenic acid which prevents heart problems from developing.
Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that offers numerous health benefits. Although the study highlights the link between developing clogged arteries and coffee consumption, more research is needed to confirm the findings. The results should not be generalized because people have different lifestyles.
3 is the magic number
Three cups are the optimum amount - too much increases the risk of problems like anxiety or irregular heartbeat. Those who flaunt the limits run the risk of heart failure. Whether it's cappuccino, latte, espresso, or mocha, the three cups of coffee can come in whichever way I want. While there’s no recommended coffee intake, experts believe that 400mg of coffee a day is healthy for most people.
In one study at the University of London, the researchers experimented with 8,412 adults. Each person was asked how many cups of coffee they drank. Those who took more than three cups of coffee a day had cardiovascular disease. The other information that was documented included gender, age, ethnicity, and lifestyle choices. The study also revealed that men who smoked were heavy coffee drinkers. Although coffee is popular worldwide, it’s hard to prove whether the beverage is good or bad for the arteries.
In another study that took place at the University of Sao Paulo, about 4,400 participants took part in the research. The coronary artery calcium readings (CAC) were recorded and analyzed. Those who drank larger amounts had fewer calcium deposits that allowed for better blood flow.
Caffeinated or decaffeinated
In one study, the researchers found that caffeinated coffee is more effective and can help perk up the blood vessels. By comparing the normal coffee strength with the decaffeinated version, caffeinated coffee increases the blood flow by 30%.
In another study, some participants aged 22-30 who didn’t drink coffee were assigned caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Two days later, each group had the coffee swapped and the results were recorded. The researchers found that those who took caffeinated coffee had healthy blood vessels. Since caffeinated coffee doesn’t bother me, I stick to my regular coffee rather than the decaffeinated varieties.
Since there are no quick fixes for melting away clogged arteries, what matters most is making a few lifestyle changes to improve heart health. This explains why I kick-start my day with a cup of coffee.
Coffee helps to unclog arteries for non-smokers
In one Brazilian study that involved 4426 adults, the participants filled a questionnaire to determine how much coffee each consumed. The researchers divided them into three groups. Some took one cup of coffee, others three cups and the rest more than three cups.
After that, all subjects went through a CT scan to assess calcium buildup in the arteries. Then, the results were analyzed. Those who took more than three cups of coffee showed less clogged arteries than those who took just one cup.
The researchers also found that the results were only varied for participants who never smoked. It was concluded that the benefits were only effective for people who never smoked. But because the study was observational, it could not be used to conclude there is a clear link between coffee consumption and clogged arteries.
In another study that involved 80 participants above 53 years, half of them had coronary heart disease while the rest were free from cardiovascular disease. The subjects were then tested after giving up their coffee after 48 hours. One group was put on a placebo while the other participants were given 200mg of caffeine. Those who took coffee showed improved arterial function while those on placebo showed no changes.
The best coffee to unclog the arteries
Although coffee is praised for its health benefits, taking too much can lead to unwanted cholesterol that may clog the arteries. Because I’m concerned about cholesterol build-up in the arteries, I stay away from unfiltered coffee. I take filtered varieties and espresso. While most studies are not conclusive, preliminary research shows coffee isn’t bad for the arteries.