Study: Drinking coffee may lower your heart attack risk

That morning cup of joe could be more than a little pick-me-up—it may actually be helping your heart. A study published in the journal Heart finds that people who drink three to five cups of coffee a day are less likely to develop clogged arteries that could lead to heart attacks.

The study, led by a team of researchers in Seoul, South Korea, found that people who consume a moderate amount of coffee had the least risk of coronary calcium in their arteries. Coronary artery calcium can cause blood clots that trigger a heart attack or stroke.

Researchers say the new study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests moderate coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.

“Over the years the caffeine and coffee benefits story has gone back and forth in terms of health benefits and health risks. For those of us tied to our Starbucks, I think the bottom line is still everything in moderation,” says Jonathan Altschuler, MD, cardiologist.

“It’s certainly a provocative study, but we should remember that researchers looked at a patient population in Korea and the method they used to detect the presence of heart disease is probably less accurate in a younger population,” he added.

Dr. Altschuler says for some people large amounts of coffee and caffeine can have a negative impact on blood pressure and even cause heart palpitations.

As with all new healthcare research, it’s best to consult with your doctor before making lifestyle adjustments. Your doctor will be able to factor in your personal diet, lifestyle and risk factors for heart disease and make a recommendation that’s best for you.

Originally published March 3, 2015. Last updated Aug. 3, 2020.

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