The effect of coffee on blood pressure has been a hot topic in recent years. Is coffee a beneficial part of a healthy lifestyle, or does the amount of caffeine in coffee make it a risk factor for high blood pressure? Caffeine can have a drastic impact on your blood pressure, and it’s important to know what causes it.
Though coffee has been a part of our daily habits for centuries, the relationship between coffee and blood pressure was recently the center of a lengthy debate by the American Heart Association.
Tea, Diet Soda, and Coffee are major players in the beverage industry, so it’s no surprise that some scientific studies have tried to link these beverages to potential health issues. For example, one study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank 2 cups of caffeinated coffee per day were twice as likely to develop heart disease as women who drank no coffee.
In fact, it appears that caffeine increases your blood pressure. In this case, the decrease in blood pressure is a temporary effect of the caffeine boost, and occurs in response to the initial increase in blood pressure from coffee. This effect is why it is recommended that you have caffeine or caffeine-containing products at least six hours before and after exercise to avoid the initial spike in blood pressure.
The drawback for drinking coffee is that this extra cup of coffee means your caffeine levels rise higher and higher, which can lead to a number of health problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, consuming more coffee than your body can handle can cause a number of negative side effects, including high blood pressure, headaches, and sleeplessness.
How much does caffeine raise your blood pressure?
Caffeine raises your blood pressure, but not as much as you might think. Caffeine raises the blood pressure of people with existing high blood pressure by about 10 percent, and by about 7 percent in people with normal blood pressure. Do those numbers seem surprisingly low? Perhaps.
But keep in mind that most of the studies on caffeine and blood pressure take place in people who already have high blood pressure. It’s entirely possible that those numbers are bigger in other people.
Over the past decade, the weight of scientific evidence supporting the association between caffeine and blood pressure has grown considerably. A recent meta-analysis that pooled data from 10 randomized control trials found that consuming caffeine (at least 1 cup of coffee or 2-3 cups of tea per day) had a significant effect on systolic blood pressure (SBP). The investigators concluded that a daily dose of 200 mg/day (or about 1 cup of coffee or 2-3 cups of tea) may be associated with a 0.5mm Hg reduction in SBP.
We’ve all heard that too much coffee can raise your blood pressure. But did you know that a can of Coke can also raise your BP? In fact, many soft drinks are so sugary that they raise BP as much as a cup of coffee. So what should you do? If you want to maintain low blood pressure don’t drink caffeine at all.
If you need caffeine to get through the day, limit yourself to two or three cups of coffee or tea and skip the soda.