London: Sipping a hot cup of coffee daily could give you more than a healthful lift of energy. The drink helps people live longer by warding off heart disease, a study has revealed.
Researchers at the University of Athens have carried out the study and found that drinking a cup of coffee everyday improves elasticity of the arteries, which can stave off heart disease, the `Daily Mail` reported.
In fact, the researchers have based their findings on an analysis of 485 people with high blood pressure.
The subjects of the study were all aged between 65 and 100 and longterm inhabitants of Greek island of Ikaria. It is known as the "land of longevity" and a third of residents reach the age of 90.
Dr Christina Chrysohoou, who led the study, said there was conflicting evidence about the effect of coffee drinking on heart health, with some research showing it aggravated high blood pressure.
"But drinking coffee is a deeply embedded social tradition in Greek culture which made it imperative to probe on this island of `high life-expectancy," she said.
In the study, the subjects` arteries were assessed for distensibility -- or elasticity. The 56 per cent who were moderate coffee drinkers consuming between one and two cups a day, had best arterial health, with their blood vessels behaving like those found in younger people.
Their arteries were more elastic than those measured in people who drank little or no coffee. Around one in 10 who drank three or more cups a day had the least elasticity.
Dr Chrysohoou said moderate coffee drinkers consumed 25-50ml of coffee a day. Typically they were drinking strong Greek coffee but other types might work as well.
She suggested that ingredients such as caffeine and antioxidants may partly improve arterial function by increasing the ability to take up nitric oxide, which is impaired in hypertensive patients.
The findings have been released at European Society of Cardiology Congress in Stockholm.