BP Basics

Coffee and High Blood Pressure 

The relationship between coffee and high blood pressure has always been a controversial and much debated issue. A particular school of thought holds the view that coffee causes high blood pressure, whereas another holds a view diametrically opposite. The results of medical research have been inconsistent and are probably one of the reasons that the debate behind the issue carries on. The relationship between coffee and high blood pressure has always been a controversial and much debated issue. A particular school of thought holds the view that coffee causes high blood pressure, whereas another holds a view diametrically opposite. The results of medical research have been inconsistent and are probably one of the reasons that the debate behind the issue carries on.

Coffee is mainly known for its caffeine content, which is higher than the amount found in tea, chocolates and soft drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant that is said to cause nervousness and  increase blood pressure. When taken in moderate amounts (about 300milligrams a day), which comes to 2-3 cups of coffee, it is not harmful. Anything above 2 to 3 cups of coffee may be a matter of concern for the health

It has also been found that with regular use of coffee, the body develops a tolerance for caffeine. This does not result in any long-term effect of caffeine on the blood pressure. Coffee by itself is not responsible for high blood pressure in an individual. Other factors, such as age, environment, body weight, work style, sex, smoking, educational level, total calorie intake, alcohol consumption, occupational status, family history and many other factors have to be taken into consideration.

In fact, non-regular drinkers of coffee are at a higher risk, as the caffeine in the coffee causes the blood pressure to rise abruptly. However, the outcome is comparatively small and transitory, and after two to two and half hours of drinking a cup of coffee the blood pressure comes back to what it was. These temporary effects of caffeine on the body’s blood pressure have many long-term health implications.

Nevertheless, to be on the safer side it is recommended to keep one's caffeine intake as low as 200 milligrams a day. If you love coffee and feel that it might raise your blood pressure, drink decaf. Adopt a regular exercise regimen, stick to a diet that is based on DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and try to keep free of undue stress, and you should be able to keep your blood pressure under control.