You might not have to feel quite so guilty about that second (or third, or fourth) cup of coffee that you poured yourself this morning.

Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore has found a strong association between coffee consumption and reduced calcium buildup in arteries.

Researching coffee consumption

The study collected data on more than 25,000 men and women (average age 41) living in South Korea. None of the participants had signs of heart disease, and factors such as age, sex, smoking and alcohol consumption, diabetes, obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, physical activity, family history, and diet were all taken into account in data collection.

Participants were asked questions regarding what they ate and drank and also underwent a CT scan to examine calcium buildup in their heart's arteries.

Researchers found that those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day had the least buildup. Although this does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, researchers noted that the correlation between coffee consumption and calcium buildup in arteries is very strong.

Coffee and heart health

In addition to the findings from this study, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reported that health risks associated with drinking coffee are minimal and as many as five cups of coffee a day has an association with health benefits including a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. Although coffee may be beneficial to heart health, the research study authors noted that this does not necessarily mean that it’s necessary to add coffee to your diet, but that those who are coffee drinkers should not be concerned about its effect on their heart health.