Why a coffee break helps you live longer by 'warding off heart disease'

Drinking a cup of coffee a day could be the secret to long life, researchers claim.

A unique investigation into what helps people live to be 100 shows even those with high blood pressure are healthier for a daily cup of coffee. According to a study released yesterday, it helps improve elasticity of the arteries, which can ward off heart disease.

The subjects of the research were all aged between 65 and 100 and long-term inhabitants of the Greek island of Ikaria. It is known as the 'land of longevity' and a third of residents reach the age of 90. The population suffers 20 per cent less cancer and half the rate of heart disease compared with the Western average, and there is virtually no dementia.

The island has been a destination for health tourists since the 6th century, when ancient Greeks and Romans visited hot springs fabled for their beneficial effects on joint and skin ailments. Modern-day experts claim the heart-protective Mediterranean diet, supplemented with locally produced honey and herbal teas, also plays a part.

Now regular coffee drinking has been investigated by researchers from the University of Athens to see if it also helps people live longer. They looked at 485 people with high blood pressure, medically known as hypertension.

Source - Daily Mail