Greek coffee may be key to long life

March 18, 2013 at 11:39 PM
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ATHENS, Greece, March 18 (UPI) -- Researchers investigating cardiovascular health say a cup of boiled Greek coffee may be why the inhabitants of Ikaria, a Greek island, live to age 90 and older.

Dr. Gerasimos Siasos of the University of Athens Medical School said only 0.1 percent of Europeans live to be age 90 and older, yet on the Greek island of Ikaria, the figure was 1 percent -- one of the highest longevity rates anywhere.

In addition, the islanders tend to live out their longer lives in good health, Siasos said.

From a sample of 673 Ikarians age 65 and older who lived on the island permanently, the researchers randomly selected 71 men and 71 women to take part in the study.

The researchers checked for high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical conditions and questioned them on their health, lifestyles and coffee drinking. They also checked the participants' endothelial function. 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 researchers investigated all types of coffee taken by participants -- but 87 percent consumed boiled, Greek coffee daily.

The study, published in Vascular Medicine, found those consuming mainly boiled Greek coffee had better endothelial function than those who consumed other types of coffee.

"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," Siasos said in a statement.

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