Coffee is a daily essential to kick-start most people’s days. But did you know caffeine in coffee can affect blood pressure in hypertensive patients?
- Caffeine, the active ingredient in coffee, has been found to increase blood pressure temporarily.
- The effects of caffeine in coffee are short-term; however, uncontrolled blood pressure and excessive coffee intake can have detrimental side effects.
- Various alternatives and supplements can help reduce the negative impact of coffee on blood pressure.
With its annual consumption of nearly 8.6 billion kgs, coffee is a must-have for most people. If you regularly enjoy a cup of java, you must be familiar with the energetic buzz that sets in shortly after your first sips.
For some, even just the aroma of coffee is enough to give you a boost. However, scientists often debate whether drinking coffee regularly benefits your cardiovascular health and blood pressure, or the opposite.
Find out if your daily cup of coffee affects hypertension and if you should consider cutting back!
How Does Caffeine In Coffee Affect Blood Pressure?
There are several reasons why caffeine in coffee leads to a rise in blood pressure; for example, having coffee constricts blood vessels.
This vasoconstrictive effect raises blood pressure, but for a short period. Similarly, caffeine stimulates glands to produce more adrenaline and cortisol.
Researchers have found that
“Clinical and experimental cortisol excesses are associated with increases in blood pressure.”
Likewise, adrenaline is produced as a response to stress, increasing heart rate, the force of contractions, and narrowing blood vessels. Consequently, this also elevates blood pressure.
However, this research has also revealed that caffeine use is safe for hypertensive patients when moderated. Furthermore, frequent coffee or caffeinated beverages does not increase the risk of hypertension in people who do not have the condition.
As caffeine kicks in
Most individuals notice a rise in blood pressure within half an hour to an hour after consuming caffeinated coffee.
A meta-analysis of over 30 studies found an average increase of 8mm Hg in systolic pressure and 6 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure after consuming 200 to 300mg of caffeinated coffee. This roughly makes 1.5 to 2 cups of coffee.
We recommend looking at our blood pressure chart to understand the significance of this increase and referential values.
Within three to four hours of ingestion, the effects of caffeine wear off. The impact is the same on people who have regular or elevated blood pressure, to begin with.
But, it’s important to note that regular coffee drinkers can build up a tolerance to the effects of caffeine. According to these findings, caffeine may cause a mild to moderate rise in blood pressure if you rarely consume coffee.
The Long-Term Effect Of Caffeine Consumption On Blood Pressure
The effects of coffee on blood pressure appear to be short-lived and present only immediately after drinking it. Recent studies suggest that drinking coffee daily has an insignificant long-term impact on people with hypertension or the risk of heart disease.
Coffee might even be beneficial for your health. Moderate consumption of coffee – on average three to five cups daily – is connected to lowering the risk of heart disease and premature death by 15% in otherwise healthy individuals.
Coffee’s many bioactive components have antioxidant effects that lower oxidative stress and inflammation. Nonetheless, further research is required to understand how caffeine affects health in the long run entirely.
How much is too much?
Adults should limit caffeine intake to 400 mg, approximately 4 cups of coffee at a time. Slightly exceeding this amount shouldn’t be problematic, but consuming more than 1200 mg of caffeine in one sitting can induce severe side effects, including seizures.
Symptoms of caffeine overdose
Cases of caffeine overdose are extremely rare. Even then, here are a few signs to watch out for if you suspect you’ve had too much coffee:
- Panic attacks
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Palpations or tremors
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Contact your healthcare provider if these side effects persist after stopping caffeine intake.
Is Avoiding Coffee The Solution?
Moderate coffee consumption does not significantly impact blood pressure for most people, even those diagnosed with hypertension.
But, if you have high blood pressure already, it is inadvisable to drink too much coffee. You might want to hold off starting a regular coffee habit unless your numbers normalize because of caffeine’s transient but noticeable effects.
Like any other food or drink, restraint with coffee is critical. Instead of worrying about coffee intake, focusing on overall well-being can be more beneficial.
Regular physical activity, blood pressure supplements, and a diet rich in herbs, spices, vegetables, and fruits that reduce hypertension are essential.
If you need coffee to get through the day, caffeine-free options like ginseng tea, maca, and chicory root give you the same energy boost.
While it’s undeniable that coffee is globally loved, its consumption has been linked to hypertension and temporarily raised blood pressure. However, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest coffee increases blood pressure or the risk of cardiovascular disease in regular drinkers.
On the contrary, some scientists have found that coffee might benefit heart health. In moderation, coffee is considered safe for blood pressure.
- Nurminen, M-L. et al. “Coffee, caffeine and blood pressure: a critical review.” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 53 (1999): 831-839. https://www.nature.com/articles/1600899
- Gelenijnse, J. M. “Habitual coffee consumption and blood pressure: An epidemiological perspective.” Vascular Health and Risk Management 4.5 (2008): 963-970. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2605331/
- Fraser, R. et al. “Cortisol Effects on Body Mass, Blood Pressure, and Cholesterol in the General Population.” Hypertension 33 (1999): 1364-1368. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.HYP.33.6.1364
- Chrysant, S. G. “The impact of coffee consumption on blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.” Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 15.3 (2017): 151-156. https://doi.org/10.1080/14779072.2017.1287563
- Yashin, A. et al. “Antioxidant and Antiradical Activity of Coffee.” Antioxidants (Basel) 2.4 (2013): 230-245. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665516/