Drinking Greek coffee could help people live longer by warding off heart disease, a study by researchers at the University fo Athens has found.
But drinking coffee is a deeply embedded social tradition in Greek culture which made it imperative to probe on this island of ‘high life-expectancy’.
The researchers at the University of Athens have carried out the study and found that drinking a cup of coffee everyday improves elasticity of the arteries, which can stave off heart disease.
The study analysed 485 people with high blood pressure between 65 and 100 who live on the Greek island of Ikaria, an island renowned for the longevity of its residents.
Dr Christina Chrysohoou, who led the study, said there was conflicting evidence about the effect of coffee drinking on heart health, with some research showing it aggravated high blood pressure.
“But drinking coffee is a deeply embedded social tradition in Greek culture which made it imperative to probe on this island of ‘high life-expectancy,” she said.
In the study, the subjects’ arteries were assessed for distensibility – or elasticity.
The 56 per cent who were moderate coffee drinkers consuming between one and two cups a day, had best arterial health, with their blood vessels behaving like those found in younger people.
Their arteries were more elastic than those measured in people who drank little or no coffee.
Around one in 10 who drank three or more cups a day had the least elasticity.
Dr Chrysohoou said moderate coffee drinkers were drinking strong Greek coffee but other types might work as well.
She suggested that ingredients such as caffeine and antioxidants may partly improve arterial function by increasing the ability to take up nitric oxide, which is impaired in hypertensive patients.
The findings were released at European Society of Cardiology Congress in Stockholm.