Drinking coffee 'is good for the heart'
By Celia Hall, Medical Editor
(Filed: 12/05/2006)

One to three cups of coffee a day may protect people from heart disease and strokes, according to research which contradicts numerous studies that have suggested that coffee is bad for you.

The good news for coffee drinkers comes from a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and is based on a study of 27,000 older women, followed for 15 years.

It found a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease by about 30 per cent in women who had a moderate intake of coffee. The analysis, part of the Iowa Women's Health Study, found that up to 60 per cent of antioxidants in the diet may come from coffee.

Antioxidants protect cells from damage and reduce the inflammation that encourages arteries to narrow.

Active parts of coffee include caffeine and polyphenols. Polyphenols are also found in red wine and they too have been linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people who drink one to three glasses of red wine a day. The researchers in the Iowa study also pointed out that a Scottish survey of 11,000 men and women found that coffee drinking was associated with a reduction in deaths from all causes.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, a fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: "This is a message about moderation. Too much exercise, too much coffee or too much alcohol are bad. In moderation they are beneficial."

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