HealthDay News — There is an inverse association between coffee consumption and coronary artery calcium (CAC), especially among never smokers, according to a study published online March 24 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Andreia M. Miranda, Ph.D., from the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional study involving 4,426 participants from the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health who underwent a CAC measurement. A food frequency questionnaire was used to assess coffee consumption. CAC was detected with computed tomography and expressed as Agatston units, and further classified as an Agatston score ≥100 (CAC ≥100).

The researchers identified significant inverse associations between coffee consumption (more than three cups/day) and CAC ≥100 (odds ratio, 0.33 for more than three cups/day). There was a statistically significant interaction effect for coffee consumption and smoking status; the odds ratio of coronary calcification was lower for never smokers drinking more three cups/day (odds ratio, 0.37), while intake of coffee was not significantly associated with coronary calcification for current and former smokers.

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“Habitual consumption of more than three cups/day of coffee decreased odds of subclinical atherosclerosis among never smokers,” the authors write. “The consumption of coffee could exert a potential beneficial effect against coronary calcification, particularly in nonsmokers.”

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