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You can drink up to 25 cups of coffee a day without harming your heart: study

WATCH: Getting a headache without coffee? Here are alternatives.

Coffee lovers rejoice.

You can drink up to 25 cups of java without upping your chances of a heart attack or stroke, according to a new study.

Researchers out of the U.K. studied more than 8,000 people and their coffee-drinking habits and found that drinking up to 25 cups a day was no worse for the arteries than drinking less than a cup a day.

READ MORE: Caffeine withdrawal — What happens when you don’t get your coffee fix

The study says that despite previous beliefs that drinking coffee increases arterial stiffness (which can lead to a heart attack or stroke), having over 20 cups of daily joe was not associated with stiffer arteries.

The research was partially funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society conference in Manchester, the Guardian reports.

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To determine how coffee affects the heart, researchers divided participants into three groups: those who drink less than one cup a day, those who drink between one and three cups a day and those who drink more than three.

(People who drink over 25 cups were excluded.)

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The participants underwent MRI heart scans and infrared pulse wave tests.

“The associations between drinking coffee and artery stiffness measures were corrected for contributing factors like age, gender, ethnicity, smoking status, height, weight, how much alcohol someone drank, what they ate and high blood pressure,” the BHF wrote.

According to the study’s findings, moderate and heavy coffee drinkers were “most likely to be male, smoke and consume alcohol regularly.”

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In a statement, Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the BHF, said this research will hopefully lead to more discoveries about coffee and its effects.

“There are several conflicting studies saying different things about coffee, and it can be difficult to filter what we should believe and what we shouldn’t,” Avkiran said.

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“This research will hopefully put some of the media reports in perspective as it rules out one of the potential detrimental effects of coffee on our arteries.”

While the report says large amounts of coffee are fine for the heart, a researcher from the study told CNN that their findings do not mean it’s a good idea to drink 25 cups a day.

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“We’re not telling people to drink 25 cups a day, per se,” Kenneth Fung, who led the data analysis, told the outlet.

“If anything, if you drink within recommended guidelines, then we don’t expect to see an increase in arterial stiffness compared with those who drink one cup or less a day.”

Other reports have also said caffeine isn’t harmful.

Coffee may be good for health

A 2017 study conducted by researchers from the universities of Southampton and Edinburgh found that drinking three or four cups of coffee per day was more likely to benefit your health than harm it. In fact, they suggest drinking this amount decreased your risk of death by 17 per cent.

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And while there have been countless studies about the benefits and risks of drinking coffee, researchers note that for some, more can be even better.

READ MORE: 8 unhealthy ways to start your morning

According to a 2014 study, coffee may also help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers out of Harvard found that people who “increased the amount of coffee they drank each day by more than one cup over a four-year period had an 11 per cent lower risk for Type 2 diabetes than those who made no changes to their coffee consumption.”

How much is too much caffeine?

Health Canada recommends adults should limit their caffeine intake to no more than 400 milligrams per day, registered dietitian Andy De Santis previously told Global News. That’s about three cups of coffee, eight ounces each — or three short cups of coffee from Starbucks. Tim Hortons’ smallest size is 10 ounces.

READ MORE: Health Canada warns about dangers of mixing caffeine and alcohol

De Santis adds there is no evidence that suggests caffeine intake at this level will cause any harm to a healthy adult.

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“In some people who are sensitive to it, caffeine may lead to anxiety, insomnia and stomach issues. These people need to be mindful of their caffeinated coffee intake,” he said.

Coffee contains caffeine — a well-known stimulant and performance enhancer — and a variety of other potentially healthful compounds, he adds, which may partially explain why people who drink coffee tend to live longer.

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It’s important to note that pregnant women and people who are negatively affected by caffeine should limit their intake.

Nanci Guest, a registered dietitian, PhD candidate and caffeine and genetics researcher at the University of Toronto, previously told Global News that if your body doesn’t handle coffee well, you shouldn’t feel pressured to drink it.

She adds that people who have trouble sleeping or insomnia should not be consuming this much coffee during the day, especially later into the evening. She says people who have jitters may also have negative reactions to upping their caffeine dose.

Laura.Hensley@globalnews.ca

—With files from Arti Patel 

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