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Coffee consumption may improve blood flow

November 22, 2013

Drinking one or two cups cups of coffee is a common part of senior living for many older adults, and though there's often a debate surrounding whether there are health benefits to moderate consumption, results of a recent study seem to suggest there are. Researchers from University of the Ryukyus in Japan found that the caffeine in a cup of coffee can help improve blood flow through the body's smallest vessels, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

Scientists assessed the role of caffeine by looking at the blood flow of 27 healthy adults, all of whom did not regularly drink coffee. They discovered that in a 75-minute period after drinking a cup of coffee, the participants saw a 30 percent increase in blood flow in one finger - which is often seen as an indicator of how well other tiny blood vessels in the body are functioning. Study leaders suggest that the findings could help people rethink the role caffeine and coffee play in healthy living.

"If we know how the positive effects of coffee work, it could lead to a new treatment strategy for cardiovascular disease in the future," said Dr. Masato Tsutsui, a cardiologist at the university. 

This isn't the first time that coffee has been linked to better health. Some of the most compelling evidence comes from a 2012 study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers from the National Cancer Institute found that people with certain conditions - diabetes and heart disease, among them - who drank around three cups of coffee each day had a lower mortality risk compared to non-coffee drinkers.