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Caffeine 'reduces heart disease risk in elderly'

23rd February 2007

Elderly people could protect their heart by regularly drinking caffeinated beverages, according to a new study.

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Brooklyn College studied people aged 65 or over and found those who consumed more caffeinated drinks were at lower risk of coronary vascular disease and heart mortality.

John Kassotis, an associate professor of medicine at SUNY, said: "The protection against death from heart disease in the elderly afforded by caffeine is likely due to caffeine's enhancement of blood pressure."

However, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) urged caution when considering caffeine intake, with cardiac nurse Vicky Styman saying: "The effect of caffeine on the heart remains an area of ongoing research and there are still a lot of unanswered questions.

"The amount of caffeine we drink is less likely to help protect our hearts than other lifestyle measures such as regular physical activity, a diet low in saturated fat and one that includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day."

The study appears in February's American Journal of Nutrition.