Drinking a cup of coffee a day could prolong your life, say researchers from the University of Athens.
The Greek study found that moderate consumption of coffee can help improve the elasticity of the arteries, which can help prevent heart disease and stroke, ScienceDaily reported.
In the study into age longevity, researchers conducted a health and nutrition survey of a group of 343 men and 330 women aged between 65 and 100 who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension).
All subjects in the study were residents of the Greek island Ikaria, which was chosen because an above-average percentage of its population older than 90 years of age.
Fifty-six percent were moderate coffee drinkers consuming between one and two cups of coffee per day. One-third of the individuals drink little or no coffee.
The subjects' arteries were assessed for distensibility (elasticity) using calculations that measure the range between heart beats.
The results of the study found that those who drank moderate amounts of coffee had the best arterial elasticity better than those who didn't drink coffee at all.
However, increasing the amount of coffee to between three and five cups a day did not lead to further improvements, lead researcher Dr Christina Chrysohoou said.
Dr Chrysohoou said ingredients such as caffeine and antioxidants may improve the functioning of the arteries by increasing their ability to take up nitric oxide, which is impaired in hypertensive patients.
"The study revealed that moderate coffee consumption (between one and two cups per day) is associated with higher values of aortic distensibility when compared with other hypertensive elderly individuals taking less quantities of coffee," Dr Chrysohoou said.
"There was also evidence that moderate coffee consumption leads to reduced cardiovascular disease, lower prevalence of diabetes and hyperlipidaemia, lower body mass index, better renal functions and higher creatinine clearance levels."
The researchers' findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology's Congress 2010 in Stockholm.
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