Greek Coffee
Greek coffee helps Ikarians live longer (Wiki Commons)

Greek coffee helps people live longer lives because it is rich in antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, researchers have said.

People on the Greek island of Ikaria have one of the highest rates of longevity in the world. Scientists from the University of Athens Medical School studied their lifestyles to find out their secret.

In total, 0.1 percent of Europeans live beyond the age of 90. However, on Ikaria, this figure is one percent. Islanders also tend to have good health for longer.

The team looked at the cardiovascular health of islanders and examined their coffee-drinking habits.

Greek coffee, also known as Turkish coffee, is served by roasting and finely grounding coffee beans, then boiling in a pot with sugar.

It is then served in a cup where the ground beans settle - the grounds are not filtered out as with most other forms of coffee. It is also served with a glass of cold water to cleanse the pallet.

Researchers looked at coffee consumption specifically because recent studies have shown moderate consumption can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Ikaria has one of the highest longevity levels in the world (Wiki Commons)

Gerasimos Siasos and his team were looking for links between coffee drinking and the islander's endothelial function.

The endothelium is a layer of cells that line blood vessels. They are affected by aging and lifestyle, smoking, for example, damages them.

From the 673 Ikarians over 65, 71 women and 71 men were chosen to participate in the study. Their health was checked - including their endothelial function - and they were given questionnaires about their lifestyle, general health and coffee consumption.

Over 87 percent of the participants consumed boiled, Greek coffee every day. This group was shown to have better endothelial function than those who consumed different types of coffee.

People who drank Greek coffee who suffered from high blood pressure also had improved endothelial function without it affecting their blood pressure.

"Boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages," Siasos said.

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