New Study Shows Your Love For Caffeine Could Lead To A Healthier Heart

The presence of high cholesterol is closely tied with one's risk for heart disease (via of Mayo Clinic). While essential for cell function, the excess buildup of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as the "bad" cholesterol, can create blockages in the arteries and narrow the channels for blood flow. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

Increasing consumption of certain food items can help reduce one's risk for heart disease, such as fruits and vegetables (via the WHO). Now, a recent study published in Nature Communications suggests that caffeine beverages may also join the ranks of fruits and veggies among foods that can boost heart health. Caffeine has already been shown to provide a variety of health benefits including increased energy levels, as well as potentially lowering rates of liver cancer and Alzheimer's disease (via WebMD). According to researchers, while caffeine has previously been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, this new study now tells us why.

Caffeine helps filter out 'bad' cholesterol

McMaster University researchers discovered through their examination of liver cells in mice that caffeine blocked the PCSK9 gene (via MedicalNewsToday). This prompts the production of a protein that controls cholesterol levels in the blood (via MedlinePlus). As a result, more "bad" cholesterol was directed toward the liver, which is responsible for filtering out toxins from the body.

In addition, the authors of the study looked at how caffeine affected this same gene in humans. Researchers examined a series of "healthy, fasting volunteers" who were given 400 milligrams of caffeine (via MedicalNewsToday). It was found that PCSK9 levels decreased by 25% just 2 hours after caffeine consumption and 21% after 4 hours' time.

"Coffee and tea drinkers have another important health reason to rejoice — minus the sugar," Dr. Richard Austin, senior author of the study, told MedicalNewsToday. "These findings now provide the underlying mechanism by which caffeine and its derivatives can mitigate the levels of blood PCSK9 and thereby reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease."