12 January - 20 June 2016

Greek coffee may improve cardiovascular health

20 March 13

Previous research has found that moderate coffee consumption can cause a slight risk reduction for coronary heart disease mortality.  A study published in the journal Vascular Medicine has investigated the association between coffee consumption and endothelium function in the elderly. Siasos et al recruited participants from the Greek Island of Ikaria, noting that only 0.1% of Europeans live to be over 90, yet on the Greek island of Ikaria, the figure is 1% with islanders tending to live out their longer lives in good health.  The endothelium is a layer of cells that lines blood vessels, which is affected both by aging and by lifestyle habits (such as smoking).  The scientists recruited 142 elderly participants aged between 66 – 91 years.  The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire, recording the type and frequency of coffee consumed. The scientists report that brewed coffee contains the most caffeine content (around 85 mg/142 g of coffee), while percolated-roasted ground coffee contains 74 mg of caffeine per 142 g, and drip roasted ground coffee 112 mg per 142g.  Furthermore Greek coffee contains 0.3-6.7 mg/100ml cafestol and 0.1-7.1 mg/100 ml kahweol.  In contrast filtered coffee contains these compounds at 0-0.1 mg/100 ml. The researchers note that all types of coffee were adjusted for one cup of 150 ml coffee and a concentration of 28 mg of caffeine per 100 ml, with one cup of coffee equivalent to 450 ml of brewed coffee or 300 ml of instant coffee.  The participants were split into three groups based on their intake: low (<200 ml/day), moderate (200-450 ml/day) or high (>450 ml/day). Sociodemographic and lifestyle variables including smoking habits were also recorded. Blood pressure, weight and height were measured and body mass index score calculated.  Siasos et al. also collected blood samples to measure serum total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.  In addition the endothelial function was evaluated using ultrasound measurement of flow-mediated dilation.    Forty per cent of the participants had a low daily coffee consumption, 48% had a moderate consumption and 13% consumed more than 450 ml of coffee daily.  Siasos et al found that 87% of those in the study consumed boiled, Greek coffee daily. More importantly, subjects consuming mainly boiled Greek coffee had better endothelial function than those who consumed other types of coffee. Even in those with high blood pressure, boiled Greek coffee consumption was associated with improved endothelial function, without worrying impacts on blood pressure.  The study concludes by stating that boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages.  Chronic coffee consumption is associated with improved endothelial function in elderly subjects, providing a new connection between nutrition and vascular health.

RSSL’s Functional Ingredients Laboratory can quantify caffeine in foods and beverages.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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