The latest research on coffee reports that in terms of what it does to your heart health, there’s not much of a difference between drinking five and 25 cups of coffee daily

By Catherine Orda | Photo by Anton Darius /Unsplash

What’s the final word on the pros and cons of drinking coffee? It seems that every week there’s new research zeroing in on its health effects so that there’s really no one clear consensus on the drink. It’s either making your workouts better or inhibiting your creativity; it’s either making your life longer or putting you at risk of contracting a heart attack or stroke.

Whatever the case, people aren’t likely to either completely cut coffee out of their lives or increase their coffee intake just because of these studies. Instead, there’s been growing interest in coming up with an ideal number—that is, the number of cups of coffee that can be consumed per day that won’t negatively affect your health, specifically your heart health.

While by no means meant to represent a definitive rule on coffee consumption, the latest study suggests a a specific number, reporting that drinking five cups of coffee a day is no worse for the heart than drinking one cup. 

The Study

The British Heart Foundation-funded study examined the effects of coffee consumption on over 8,000 people, splitting them into three groups according to the amount of coffee they drank daily. The first group was composed of people who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, the second was made up of those who drank between one to three cups, and the third included people who drank more than three cups daily (some people in this group drank up to 25 cups a day). 

People who drank more than 25 cups a day were eliminated from the experiment. The study also corrected for factors like age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, weight, blood pressure, diet, and alcohol intake.

Needless to say, these findings don’t mean to suggest that you should drink 25 cups of coffee a day. The main takeaway is that coffee—lots of it—can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, particularly because it poses no serious risks to the heart.

The remaining participants then underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests. The main finding? People who drank up to 25 cups of coffee daily were no more at risk of contracting heart problems than those who drank less than one cup a day. 

“What we found was that drinking more than three cups of coffee a day did not significantly increase the stiffness of blood vessels compared to people who drink one cup or less a day. If you drink within recommended guidelines, then we don’t expect to see an increase in arterial stiffness compared with those who drink one cup or less a day,” said Kenneth Fung, who headed the data analysis at Queen Mary University of London. 

No, You Should’t Drink 25 Cups of Coffee a Day

Needless to say, these findings don’t mean to suggest that you should drink 25 cups of coffee a day. The main takeaway is that coffee—lots of it—can be enjoyed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, particularly because it poses no serious risks to the heart.

“There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn’t. This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective, as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries,” said Fung.

And finally, as with almost anything, moderation is key—this study is just meant to provide a clearer definition to what can be considered as moderate.

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