How Does Coffee Affect Your Blood Pressure
As a stimulant, coffee makes people more alert and awake. Over 154 million adults, or 75% of the US population, are reported to consume some form of it every day. Due to its popularity, there needs to be a better understanding of how it can impact your health. Experts agree that in moderation coffee is not unhealthy, but how does it affect your blood pressure?
How Much Coffee Is Too Much
As a guideline for the average healthy adult, 400 mg of caffeine is considered safe .
Consuming larger quantities in a day can lead to undesirable side-effects such as anxiety, tremors, heart palpitations and insomnia Especially if you have existing high blood pressure.
However, the severity of these side-effects also depends on your personal caffeine tolerance. Coffee connoisseurs tend to develop a high threshold.
So on an individual level, your true coffee limit actually depends on your genetics, your personal caffeine tolerance, and any existing medical conditions that react with caffeine. Observe how your body responds to caffeine , including a blood pressure reading after you have a cup.
Also be mindful that coffee can vary considerably in its caffeine content. Instant and home-brewed coffee usually contains 60-80 mg per small cup, while a Starbucks grande can have up to 300 mg.
Summary: As a general guideline, more than 3-4 standard coffees per day may cause unwanted side-effects. But your true limit depends on your genetics, your personal caffeine tolerance, and any existing medical conditions. We must consider these factors and observe how our body reacts.
How Does Caffeine Affect Blood Pressure
Caffeine is a stimulant. Its why coffee and tea put a pep in your step. It fires up the nerves and gets your heart pumping a little faster. The effects are short-lived, but for a few hours after finishing your caffeinated beverage of choice, your blood pressure will be higher than normal. Not to worryone or two cups in the morning does not cause any long-term problems with blood pressure or increase your risk for developing hypertension.
On the flip side, coffee and tea have been linked to some possible health benefits, but whether or not its only due to their caffeine is up for debate. In a recently published study, researchers followed over 200,000 adults for 26 years who reported drinking between 1 and 5 cups of coffee a day. These adults were found to have an 8% to 15% lower risk of dying from any cause . Another study following over 320,000 tea drinkers for 5 years showed that drinking 4 cups or more of caffeinated tea a day had a 20% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Green tea prepared without sweeteners are actually recommended by healthcare providers for those with chronic high blood pressure as part of the DASH diet.
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The Real Side Effects Of Coffee
Something to be aware of as you sip your Java!
De-sensitizes your body to caffeine We all know what happens when you drink coffee regularly: you have to drink more and more to get the same effects.
Caffeine is as addictive as nicotine and recreational drugs, and it affects your body the same, meaning no matter how much you drink, you never get the same high you got the first time.
The more coffee you drink, the more you need to drink to get that same effect. This is why so many coffee drinkers go from mild Americana-style coffee to cappuccinos and espressos. For espresso drinkers, there are few optionslike Death Wish Coffee
Not only is it hard to get the same high, but you develop a dependence on caffeine in addition to the tolerance. If you stop drinking coffee, you get the shakes, a headache, and other downsides.
Affects nutrient absorption One of the most notable examples is coffees effect on calcium absorption. Coffee essentially interferes with your bodys ability to absorb calcium, preventing it from reaching your bones.
Excessive caffeine intake can lead to bone thinning and osteoporosis.
Excess body fat Now, to be clear, this isnt a side effect of coffee, per se. Just drinking black coffee can actually stimulate weight loss, and will increase your energy at the gym.
Its a bit of a hard saying. To keep your coffee healthy, you have to keep it simple. However, this makes it bitter and harder to drink. Tough call, right?
Is There A Link Between Caffeine Consumption And Blood Pressure Measurement
Caffeine consumption and blood pressure are linked only if youre measuring blood pressure within two hours of having caffeine. Caffeine spikes blood pressure 30 to 120 minutes after intake , but this is the only time when a noticeable difference in blood pressure occurs. Caffeine has a half-life of three to six hours, so its possible to see a slight variation in blood pressure within this time period as well, but its unlikely to be pronounced.
Caffeine affects diastolic blood pressure by four to 13 points, and it can impact systolic blood pressure by three to 15 points. If youre going to have your blood pressure checked, avoid taking caffeine beforehand in order to get an accurate reading and prevent any unnecessary concerns or actions.
What Does Coffee Do To Blood Pressure In The Long Term
The long-term side effects of drinking coffee on blood pressure really depend on whether you’re a habitual or occasional coffee drinker, according to Dr. George. A 2017 review in the journal Nutrients, found that increased coffee consumption is associated with a small decrease in hypertension, or high blood pressure.
More recent studies suggest that it is safe to drink three to four cups of coffee a day for people who have hypertension, according to Dr. George. And habitual coffee drinking has been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease in women, per a meta-analysis in the European Journal of Epidemiology.
But that doesn’t mean more is better.
Studies, like one published in 2019 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who drank more than six cups of coffee a day had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, than moderate coffee drinkers. “Moderate intake was linked to the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Satjit Bhusri, MD and founder of Upper East Side Cardiology in New York.
“People also need to be mindful of consuming other drinks and even foods with added caffeine, including caffeinated waters, juices, energy drinks, chocolates, candies, and even potato chips,” Dr. Bhusri says.
Observational Studies On Caffeine And Blood Pressure
Consistently high blood pressure is a huge risk factor for heart problems. Thats why were concerned about it in the first place.
Major dietary factors linked to high blood pressure and heart disease, such as excessive alcohol intake, typically contribute to stiffness of the blood vessels. This is the mechanism by which they raise the risk of heart disease.
Regular coffee consumption, however, was observed to have no such harmful influence on blood vessels .
This is thought to be because its pressor effects are too short-lived to do any lasting damage to the walls of our blood vessels.
The majority of large observational studies not only support this theory, but actually find coffee consumption linked to improved cardiovascular health.
In a review that included over 1.2 million subjects, 3 to 5 coffees per day was associated with significantly lower heart disease risk, while even heavier coffee consumption appeared to be neutral .
Other large reviews consistently find the same trend, suggesting coffee might be protective .
While these studies cannot prove cause and effect, if the blood pressure raising effect of coffee was harmful, we wouldnt expect to find coffee drinkers with better cardiovascular health than non-drinkers.
There is one huge caveat to this reasoning though
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Some Reports Say Caffeine Has An Effect On Blood Pressure
It has become so accepted that caffeine raises blood pressure, that doctors advise avoiding caffeine before having your blood pressure checked because it may raise it enough to falsify test results.
But what is the evidence for caffeine raising blood pressure?
A 1987 Italian study actually found that caffeine lowers blood pressure. In this study, researchers from the United States and Switzerland studied 15 volunteers who didn’t have high blood pressure and were nonsmokers. Only six habitually drank coffee. Harvard says:
The researchers monitored each volunteer’s blood pressure, heart rate, and sympathetic nervous system under four conditions: before and after drinking a triple espresso, before and after drinking a decaffeinated triple espresso, before and after receiving 250 mg of caffeine by intravenous injection, and before and after an intravenous placebo .
A triple espresso did raise blood pressure readings except in the habitual coffee drinkers. In those who didn’t drink coffee, it raises systolic readings 13 mm Hg on average and diastolic by 7 mm Hg.
Harvard Medical School says:
But there was an anomaly. Harvard says there are hundreds of substances in coffee, and caffeine is usually the one named as raising blood pressure.
Their conclusions: Coffee raises blood pressure in people who don’t drink it regularly. Younger people also are more sensitive to coffee’s blood-pressure effects.
Watch What You Put In Your Coffee Too
Remember what you put in your coffee also can affect your health. “What is more important is not the caffeine in coffee, but the extra ingredients folks add to spruce it up,” Dr. George says.
Sugar, artificial sweeteners, and heavy cream all can potentially add lots of calories or are linked to other risk factors, such as excess weight or type 2 diabetes, ultimately negating the benefits of coffee, according to Dr. George.
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Does Coffee Raise Blood Pressure
Matt Pitcher is a Certified Fitness Trainer
If you suffer from Cardiovascular Disease and/or fear you might some day due to high blood pressure, is your coffee consumption compounding the problem? Or, are there other things you can do to alleviate your high blood pressure and CVD concerns that do NOT include ending, or severely lessening, your coffee intake? This article explores reliable answers to those questions.
Persistence Of The Effects Of Caffeine And Caffeine Tolerance
You might think that the effect of a cup of coffee, or other caffeinated drinks, only lasts for an hour or two. Its true that a cup of coffee generally raises blood pressure for no more than a few hours. However, caffeine can persist in the body for an entire day, with continued effects. Caffeine consumed in the morning can be affecting you even when you go to bed at night.
If you drink caffeine regularly, youll probably develop a tolerance to it, such that it doesnt affect you quite as intensely as those who drink coffee only occasionally. So you might think that if you have a regular coffee habit, you dont need to worry about its effect on your blood pressure.
However, this is not necessarily the case. Some studies show that drinking coffee regularly isnt associated with raised blood pressure. However, other long-term studies have shown a relationship between daily amount of coffee consumed and blood pressure levels. So not everyone becomes immune to the blood pressure-raising effects of caffeine.
Also, the participants in the Duke University study described above were all habitual coffee drinkers, yet still showed significant increases in blood pressure, and stress, after consuming caffeine.
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Your Genes Play A Huge Part In Your Risk
Based on those studies alone, it appears youre in the clear to indulge every day
But its not that straight forward.
Not all the large observational studies found that regular coffee consumption is harmless. A possible reason for the inconsistent findings is that the population varies in underlying responses to caffeine.
How well we metabolise and tolerate caffeine is determined by our genes.
Individual genetic variations influence how our body reacts to external factors, especially how it reacts to the nutrients we eat. Genetic variations can influence metabolism for loads of nutrients such as alcohol , folate and folic acid , and caffeine too.
Depending on your genes, you may be a fast caffeine metaboliser or a slow one. This greatly influences how your blood pressure responds to coffee, as well as your heart disease risk .
Sadly, Im a super slow caffeine metaboliser, which is why I drink decaf.
Therefore, although caffeine only raises blood pressure short-term, those who are slow caffeine metabolisers and consume large amounts of coffee are probably at greater risk of negative cardiovascular health consequences.
In other words, if you are sensitive to caffeine and already have high blood pressure, it would be in your best interest to minimise intake or drink decaf where possible.
Caffeine Can Make Your Blood Pressure Climb
The next installment of Lifelines series on high blood pressure and how you can reduce your risk for this condition.
Whether its to jumpstart your day or to stay alert when working the night shift, if you have high blood pressure, think twice before reaching for that cup of coffee, can of soda or energy drink.
All of these beverages contain caffeine. So do a growing number of food products. Unfortunately, in addition to its ability to keep you awake and briefly boost your energy, caffeine can also make your blood pressure rise. While this spike is temporary, if you have high blood pressure 140/90 mm Hg or higher any increase can have serious consequences. High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and its related conditions, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure. One in every three Americans and one in every five Canadians have high blood pressure. Among Laborers, heart disease is responsible for more deaths than any other illness or workplace injury.
Caffeine is found naturally in a number of plants including the coffee bean, tea leaf, kola nut and cacao pod. The stimulating effects of caffeine on the central nervous system increased blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and urine output begin within 15 minutes of consumption and can last for more than six hours. This is why consuming caffeine late in the day can interfere with sleep, which in itself can increase risk for high blood pressure.
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Hibiscus Tea And Blood Pressure
My favorite herbal tea that lowers your blood pressure is hibiscus tea . Just as the name suggests, its made from hibiscus flowers. And when you make hibiscus tea, your tea isnt just healthy, its also a gorgeous red color.
Studies show, in people with stage 1 hypertension . drinking 2 cups of hibiscus tea each day is an effective medicine to reduce blood pressure.
Hibiscus is another source of polyphenol antioxidants. It works by protecting your blood vessels from damaging cholesterol plaques. Hibiscus also has compounds that cause nitric oxide to be released, so it works like a vasodilator and helps your blood vessels to widen.
Hibiscus works much like my other favorite blood pressure lowering drink beet juice.
Is Caffeine Bad If I Have Hypertension
You may wonder if its safe to consume caffeine if your doctor has diagnosed you with hypertension. While you should ask you doctor just to be sure, having 1 to 2 cups of coffee or tea a day is usually considered safe.
If your doctor recommends that you regularly monitor your blood pressure at home, make sure to take any readings BEFORE you have your coffee or 6 hours after you finish drinking it, so you log your normal blood pressure and not your post-caffeine spike. Likewise, at each of your doctors appointments, you should let your doctor know when you last drank a caffeinated beverage .
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Does Coffee Raise Blood Pressure Time To Clarify The Confusion
Coffee is one of the worlds most popular drinks.
Taste and social value aside, its generally considered a health food and is linked to numerous metabolic health benefits.
However, there is a lot of confusion around its impact on blood pressure.
Many foods are shown to be beneficial, but does coffee raise blood pressure? Is there more to consider if you already have high blood pressure?
This article digs through the current research to clarify any confusion.
What Can I Do If Im Concerned About Caffeine And High Blood Pressure
If you are at all concerned about how your caffeine habit may be affecting your heart, here are a few things you can do to help ease your mind:
To sum it up: In most cases, a cup or two of your favorite caffeinated beverage in the morning wont cause any harm. Unless your doctor told you to specifically avoid it, its not something you should lose sleep over. The high blood pressure that comes right after drinking caffeine is temporary and wont make you any more likely to develop hypertension later in life.
Now, if youll excuse me, I need to finish my large, iced, French vanilla coffee.
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May Increase Blood Pressure Temporarily
Science suggests that the physiological effects of drinking coffee can extend beyond a small dose of wakefulness. Research indicates that it may increase blood pressure for a short time after consumption.
A review of 34 studies showed that 200300 mg of caffeine from coffee approximately the amount youd consume in 1.52 cups resulted in an average increase of 8 mm Hg and 6 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively .
This effect was observed for up to three hours after consumption, and results were similar in people with normal blood pressure at baseline and those with pre-existing high blood pressure.
Interestingly, regular coffee consumption is not associated with the same impact on blood pressure which may be due to the caffeine tolerance that develops when you habitually drink it .
Based on this data, a small to moderate increase in your blood pressure may occur after drinking a cup of coffee especially if you drink it infrequently.
Research indicates that coffee may increase blood pressure for up to three hours after consumption. However, if you drink it regularly, this effect is diminished.