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Boiled Greek Coffee Linked to Improved Cardiovascular Health

The longevity of the people of the Greek island Ikaria have been puzzling scientists for years because 1% of their residents live past the age of 90 while only 0.1% of Europeans in general live to be the same age. A recent study suggests that their long lives may be partially due to the fact that the antioxidant and polyphenol-rich boiled coffee consumed on the island improves endothelial function.

Endothelial function is the measure of how well the cells lining our blood vessels (the “endothelium”) are working. Poor endothelial function is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Participants in the study included 71 men and 71 women selected from a group of 673 islanders over the age of 65. Information was collected regarding mental health and lifestyle. The endothelial function of all of the participants was also measured.

Through the lifestyle data, the researchers discovered that 87% of the participants drank boiled Greek coffee every day. 40% of the participants drank less than 200 ml daily (“low” consumption), 48% drank 200-450 ml daily (“moderate” consumption), and 13% drank more than 450 ml daily (“high” consumption).

Those who drank more coffee had better flow-mediated dilation (FMD) compared to those who drank less. FMD is the most common measure of endothelial function. The low group had FMD measurement of 4.33% +/- 2.51%, the moderate group 5.39% +/- 3.09%, and the high group 6.47% +/- 2.72%.

Overall, those who mainly drank boiled Greek coffee had a significantly higher FMD than those who also consumed other coffee beverages.

Researchers at the University of Athens Medical School in Greece conducted the study. It was published in the April 2013 issue of Vascular Medicine.

All coffee is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, however the concentration and preparation of Greek coffee make it even more potent. Greek coffee is made of Arabica coffee beans that are ground down to a very fine powder. This means it delivers more concentrated antioxidants than a regular cup of coffee.

Additionally, Greek coffee is boiled rather than brewed. The boiling process extracts more nutrients from the coffee beans than the brewing process.

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