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Is Coffee Good for My Blood Pressure?

A new study has found that drinking three or more cups of coffee is associated with lower blood pressure.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Arrigo F.G. Cicero, associate professor in the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the University of Bologna, peripheral and central blood pressure are markers of arterial stiffening and aging.

Healthline’s recent article entitled, “Hypertension: 3 Cups of Coffee a Day May Lower Blood Pressure,” noted that in seniors with high blood pressure, the large arteries tend to be stiffer, leading to higher systolic blood pressure (the top number of the blood pressure reading) and wider pulse pressure (the difference between the top and bottom numbers).

The authors note in their report that the effects of coffee on blood pressure are still questioned, since the caffeine content of coffee can raise blood pressure in the short term. However, these effects may be offset by coffee’s antioxidants, which can help blood vessels dilate and protect cells against free radicals.

Cicero and his team examined a sample of 720 men and 783 women in the Brisighella Heart Study. This ongoing study began in 1972 and included a randomized sample representative of a rural Northern Italy town called Brisighella. They looked at the participants’ blood pressure and coffee-drinking habits and a selection of other data relevant to cardiovascular health.

The researchers found that coffee consumption was associated with lower blood pressure.

“The trend seems to be positive from two [cups of] coffee per day,” said Cicero. “So, coffee drinking should not be a priori forbidden in current coffee drinkers, if the fear is that coffee could increase BP levels.”

Dr. Jim Liu, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University, said that while this study is small and focuses on a specific population, its findings are consistent with prior knowledge about how coffee affects blood pressure.

“Coffee can increase blood pressure acutely after consumption, but there really has not been any consistent evidence to show that moderate amounts of coffee consumption lead to long-term issues with high blood pressure or heart disease in general,” he noted.

The American Heart Association says that people are advised to avoid drinking “too much” coffee because of its ability to raise blood pressure. It can also cause problems sleeping, heart palpitations and anxiety.

Reference: Healthline (February 12, 2023) “Hypertension: 3 Cups of Coffee a Day May Lower Blood Pressure”

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