Sherry A. Phillips

Suspense Author

Can Drinking Coffee Help You Live Longer?

If it’s Greek coffee, you better believe it!

I read a lot about the Blue Zones, made popular by Dan Buettner’s book of the same name. He has studied areas where people live longer and live better.

One of the these places is Ikaria, Greece and they believe one of the contributing factors to their longevity is the coffee!

From BDLive:

One reason for their low rates of premature death from cardiovascular disease could be the traditional Greek coffee the people of Ikaria drink every day. That’s according to cardiology researchers at the University of Athens Medical School, in a study published in the journal Vascular Medicine in March.

Greek coffee is a strong, thick brew of roasted, finely ground coffee beans made in the traditional way: boiled on the stove in a small pot known as a briki, usually with sugar, served black, in a small cup, with foam on the top, and the grounds allowed to settle on the bottom.

(And while it is Greek coffee for the purposes of this study, it is a tradition throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Caucasus and the Balkans. It is commonly known as Turkish coffee in many other countries, although you would call it Turkish coffee in Greece at your peril, given the chequered history between the two countries.)

The exact mechanisms behind which the coffee exerts its heart-healthy benefits are not yet clear. However, the researchers, led by cardiology professors Christodoulos Stefanadis and Gerasimos Siaso, say that “chronic consumption” of Greek coffee is associated with “improved endothelial function in elderly individuals with an increased burden of cardiovascular risk factors”.

The endothelium is a layer of flat cells lining the inside of blood vessels in every organ in the body, as well as lymphatic vessels (which convey the lymph, a milky fluid), and the heart. It operates a gatekeeping role to regulate the flow of nutrient substances, various biologically active molecules and blood cells themselves, and plays a pivotal role in regulating blood flow and vascular function.

Endothelial function reflects the health of the vessel wall, the researchers say, and is key to cardiovascular health. When endothelial function is good, it boosts the body’s defences against such life-threatening diseases as heart attack and stroke.

Of course, caffeine is also shown to contribute to reduced endothelial function, says Prof Siasos. However, Greek coffee is “rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, with only moderate amounts of caffeine, compared with other coffee beverages”, which may explain its health benefits, he says.

The study has limitations, including the small sample size, but the researchers say it still offers “a new connection between nutritional habits and cardiovascular health”.

If you want detailed instructions on how to brew Greek coffee, you can find them here.


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