March 20/Athens, Greece/Alaska Dispatch-- It may not just be the Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and olive oil that is making Greeks live so long; it could also be the coffee says a new study.

Researchers from the University of Athens Medical School found that drinking the thick, sandy coffee may protect the heart.

A New York Times article from last October highlighted the longevity of residents of the island of Ikaria. This sparked an idea in doctors in Greece to explore the island's diet further, specifically looking at coffee consumption.

The study looked at 71 men and 71 women from the island over the age of 65. Researchers asked them questions about their health and lifestyle. They also checked the functioning of their endothelium, a layer of cells that line blood vessels. Those particular cells tend to get damaged by smoking and age.

The study found that those who drank Greek coffee regularly had better endothelial health.

Doctors say that it is likely the polyphenols and antioxidants in Greek coffee that tend to be higher than in other caffeinated drinks as well as other types of coffee.

“Boiled Greek type of coffee, which is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and contains only a moderate amount of caffeine, seems to gather benefits compared to other coffee beverages," said study author Gerasimos Siasos in a statement, reported Counsel and Heal.

The findings were published in the journal Vascular Medicine.