Coffee lovers will be pleased to hear drinking three to five cups a day can reduce the chances of having a heart attack, new research shows.
South Korean researchers found in a study of 25,000 men and women in their forties, those that consumed a moderate amount of coffee had a lower risk of developing clogged arteries, so-called, coronary atherosclerosis, which leads to blood clots and fatal heart attacks or strokes.
"Our study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that coffee consumption might be inversely associated with CVD [cardiovascular disease] risk. Further research is warranted to confirm our findings and establish the biological basis of coffee's potential preventive effects on coronary artery disease," said the researchers.
The research published in the journal Heart will reignite the debate on the health effects of coffee on the heart, which in the past has been linked to high blood pressure and poor cholesterol levels.
Victoria Taylor of the British Heart Foundation said: "While this study does highlight a potential link between coffee consumption and lower risk of developing clogged arteries, more research is needed to confirm these findings and understand what the reason is for the association.
"We need to take care when generalising these results because it is based on the South Korean population, who have different diet and lifestyle habits to people in the UK."
They scanned the employees for signs of coronary artery calcium (CAC), which is an early sign of coronary atherosclerosis.
The CAC ratio was 0.59 for those consuming three to five cups per day, compared with non-coffee drinkers and rose to 0.81 for people having five or more a day.
The association was similar in subgroups defined by age, sex, smoking status, alcohol consumption, status of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolaemia.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) happens when someone's heart blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries. Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits, which is known as atherosclerosis.
CHD is the leading cause of death both in the UK and worldwide and is responsible for around 73,000 deaths in the UK each year. About one in six men and one in ten women die from the killer disease.