The ultimate way to start your day — and protect your heart

Some doctors who don’t drink the Kool-Aid doled out by mainstream medicine now recommend drinking coffee instead. And that’s good advice. According to a new study, drinking a few cups of coffee each day improves a key component of heart health, among many other health benefits.

More on that study in a moment. But first, let’s back up…

For decades, mainstream medicine considered coffee drinking a vice or a crutch. They even tried to find some link between coffee consumption and a higher risk of various illnesses. I remember seeing the headlines in the early 1980s when statisticians trumpeted an “association” they found between coffee and some forms of cancer.

But after months of breathless excitement among the nanny state public health experts, a more careful analysis revealed the association with cancer was limited to only certain kinds of decaffeinated coffee, which are exposed to chemical solvents to artificially remove the caffeine. In the ensuing decades, they never found any other evidence about the harms of coffee.

But not for lack of trying, of course!

Coffee confers wide health benefits

More recent, modern research shows drinking natural, caffeinated coffee offers many health benefits. I attribute the benefits to coffee’s hundreds of natural constituents in addition to caffeine itself. In fact, as I reported last May, men and women who drink two-to-three cups of coffee per day cut their risk of developing colon cancer by more than half. Of course, other studies show drinking coffee regularly also prevents dementia and other chronic diseases.

And now, a new study focuses on coffee and heart health.

Of course, mainstream medicine still insists cholesterol is the be-all, end-all for heart health. But really, it’s just a bystander. The real risk factors for heart disease have to do with chronic inflammation, high homocysteine levels, low B vitamin levels, high blood pressure, insulin levels, and high blood sugar levels. They all contribute to cardiovascular injury.

In response to this damage, your body begins to deposit calcium in your arteries, causing “hardening of the arteries.” This process begins early, but it is preventable — and even reversible.

This mechanism is a main reason why I always warn you against taking those ridiculous calcium supplements. Supplement makers can’t seem to get the sources and doses right. But even if they could, you don’t want lots of excess calcium floating around in your blood. Calcium must exist in metabolic balance with other key minerals for bone, muscle, and kidney function. And when you take calcium supplements, you risk throwing off that balance. You also face the risk of increasing calcium in your blood vessels when you take a calcium supplement, according to some research studies.

The way to get proper calcium and maintain calcium balance is through a diet that includes plenty of dairy, meat and fish. You can even include some cartilage in your stew, as they do in China. Or perhaps eat sardines and herring with some bones. They all act as natural calcium supplements. Then, make sure to take vitamin D to help your calcium in balance.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the study on coffee and heart health I mentioned above.

Up to five cups a day helps keep your arteries clear and healthy

In the new study, researchers looked at the connection between arterial calcium build-up and coffee. They followed 25,138 men and women with an average age of 41. They also gave participants a health screening evaluation and dietary survey with a food frequency questionnaire.

The evidence linked moderate, daily coffee consumption — up to five cups per day — with significantly lower levels of calcium in the arteries that supply the heart.

I recommend drinking your coffee black, and you can learn to like it that way. Add a little milk if you want. Just be sure to avoid all those artificial sweeteners that come in every possible dessert flavor.

Whatever you do, don’t get shanghaied by the “natural know-it-alls” who still tell you to quit your coffee habit. You can tell them coffee is just another natural product.  Studies, including this new one, show consuming up to four to five cups of coffee per day has numerous health benefits. Plus, contrary to popular belief, recent solid research demonstrates that drinking coffee does not even dehydrate you.

I busted this common myth  in the October 2014 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you can access that issue by logging in with your username and password at If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.


“Coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium in young and middle-aged asymptomatic adults,” Heart 2015; 101: 686-691