The question most coffee lovers ask, does Caffeine raise blood pressure? Before tackling the issue from a scientific point of view from highly esteemed medical institutes and resources, let me point out the following.
Billions of people around the world drink coffee daily, it has become one of our daily habits and for some an addiction.
We all know what the reasons behind that are. Coffee is super delicious, helps us start our day, stimulates alertness, and enhances our social engagements, among many other reasons.
Our relationship with coffee became a personal one; many drink a cup while at work when studying, and some when writing a blog post, everyone has perfect timing for a perfect cup!
Its popularity is growing by the minute, no wonder, the variety of coffee is mindboggling from French Press to Balck Coffee, Turkish to Espresso, every race, and country make it to its taste and incorporate it in the tradition of the nation itself.
A simple Google Trends search for the term “coffee” is very revealing; from 2004 to 2020, the demand and interest are consistently growing.
So What is Caffeine?
Caffeine falls under the category of the central nervous system stimulant. Worldwide, It is a legal, unregulated psychoactive drug that is a chemical substance that alters brain function, causing changes in mood, perception, cognition, behavior, and consciousness.
As of 2014, 85% of American adults consume, on average, 165mg of Caffeine daily from caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, cola, Pepsi, tea, etc.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified Caffeine as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) if consumed moderately no more than 400 milligrams per day, which is equivalent to around 4 cups and depending on each consumer sensitivity.
Many pieces of research discuss the topic of Caffeine’s effects on blood pressure; the most credible are those of Harvard University, Mayoclinic, and Healthline.
1-Harvard University On Caffeine and High Blood Pressure:
According to an article published by Harvard Medical School in March 2014, most doctors recommend patients to abstain from caffeinated beverage before their blood pressure test based on the idea that caffeine increases the blood pressure and cause an inaccurate measurement.
Medical researches showed conflicting verdicts, while some studies indicated a correlation between drinking coffee and hypertension, other studies did not, and others went as far as to claim that caffeine may help decrease blood pressure.
A collaboration between scientists from Switzerland and the US decided to perform meticulous studies on 15 healthy volunteers, none of them had a history of high blood pressure, nonsmokers with only 6 of them to be regular coffee consumers.
The study concluded that Caffeine does increase blood pressure in non-consumer subjects, and youngsters but not in habitual consumers. Also, ingredients other than Caffeine contributes to hypertensive results.
Harvard scientists concluded that there is no relation between coffee and the risk of coronary artery disease or stroke, even in heavy drinkers.
The two-year study included 45,589 men between the ages of 40 to 75.
The Scottish Heart Health study went even further by stating that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Harvard’s study closing statement concluded that if you are bothered by Caffeine, stop or reduce your use, and if you enjoy it, drink it with pleasure while adopting moderation.
2- Mayo Clinic On Caffeine and Blood Pressure:
Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D. from Mayoclinic, states that Caffeine can cause a short-termed significant increase in blood pressure without a clear cause of this increase.
Also, regular drinkers of caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t. Regular drinkers develop a tolerance over time.
His advice is, consult your doctor whether you should stop or diminish the amount of caffeine intake.
If you have high blood pressure and you do physical exercises, you should avoid caffeine.
Another tip for you to check if you tend increased blood pressure due to coffee, check your blood pressure before and after drinking a cup, if you see a five to ten points increase in blood pressure, then you might be sensitive.
If you decide to reduce your intake, do so gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Source: Mayo Clinic.
3- Healthline On Caffeine and High Blood Pressure:
Same as Harvard’s study, Healthline states that regular coffee consumers did not have the same impact on blood pressure.
In the long run, coffee does not have any effect on long term high blood pressure even on people who suffer from high blood pressure.
Moreover, Healthline mentions the numerous health benefits of coffee, including the reduction in heart disease risk and antioxidant effects due to bioactive compounds, which can benefit heart health.
Should you be worried?
Three major institutes all agreed that Caffeine does increase blood pressure on a short term 3 hours basis, but does not make blood pressure increase in the long term, especially for regular consumers.
On the contrary, caffeine consumed through coffee has been praised by most medical institutes as having beneficial health benefits, including reduced coronary diseases, strokes, prevention of Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.
To be on the safe side, moderation and common sense is the way to go. Anything over-consumed can be dangerous; imagine, for instance, eating salads five times a day for a month wouldn’t that have a devastating effect on your health? Yes. Are salads super healthy foods? Of course.
For more information about coffee health benefits: What are the health benefits of Coffee? Based on recent studies.
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