Coffee perks up heart health

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

coffee art
Get those small blood vessels pumping!

For those of you who love drinking that deliciously warm coffee in the morning, you just might be helping your heart out! By drinking coffee moderately, past research has shown we can improve our cardiovascular (relating to the heart and blood vessels) health, but the reasons for this are unclear. Now, a new study from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan is exploring the relationship more deeply.

According to the study, a cup of caffeinated coffee causes a 30% increase in blood flow through the small vessels in our fingertips, as opposed to drinking decaf. The microvessels help blood move through our circulatory system and our body’s tissues. Japan recruited 27 young adults in their 20s for the research, and none of them were regular coffee drinkers before the experiment. The scientists connected probes to their fingertips and used “flowmetry” to measure blood flow by shining laser beams through the blood.

Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says there’s a link between coffee drinking and lowered risk of heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

However, coffee can also lead to increased blood pressure, which is harmful to our arteries (big veins). With the findings from the Japanese researchers, Tomaselli says, “This is an intriguing observation that may help us understand why consumption of coffee may be beneficial.”

Featured image courtesy of Mortefot on Wikimedia. Image of artsy coffee courtesy of Takeaway on Wikimedia.