Coffee addicts can pour another cup – or three – after a new study found it doesn’t appear to have a bad effect on the heart.
Past research has suggested it stiffens the arteries, and drinkers have been told to cut down.
But a study of more than 8,000 people says drinking five cups a day is no worse than drinking less than a cup a day.
A couple of people even managed to drink up to 25 cups without increasing the risk to their arteries.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London divided 8,412 people into three groups – those who drank less than one cup a day, those who drank between one and three, and those who drank three or more.
The average number of cups consumed by the third group was five, but a few of them guzzled down up to two-dozen.
The researchers found even those who put away coffee at the rate of a cup an hour were no more likely to have stiffening of arteries than those who drank less than one cup a day.
“Despite the huge popularity of coffee worldwide, different reports could put people off from enjoying it,” said Dr Kenneth Fung.
“Whilst we can’t prove a causal link in this study, our research indicates coffee isn’t as bad for the arteries as previous studies would suggest.
“Although our study included individuals who drink up to 25 cups a day, the average intake amongst the highest coffee consumption group was five cups a day.
“We would like to study these people more closely in our future work so that we can help to advise safe limits.”
Previous studies suggested coffee’s effect on the arteries would put pressure on the heart and increase the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said the study “rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries”.
The participants in the study, part-funded by the BHF, underwent MRI heart scans, infrared pulse wave tests and the results held true even after factors like age, weight and smoking status were taken into account.
Advice on coffee consumption levels has varied over time but an umbrella study of studies by the British Medical Journal in 2017 found “no consistent evidence of harmful associations between coffee consumption and health outcomes, except for those related to pregnancy and for risk of fracture in women”.