How Does Coffee Affect Your Blood Pressure?
Coffee is one of the world’s most beloved beverages. In fact, people across the globe consume close to 19 billion pounds (8.6 billion kg) annually (1).
If you’re a coffee drinker, you’re probably well acquainted with the “coffee buzz” that arrives not long after those first few sips. Even the aroma alone can begin to perk you up.
However, there has been some debate as to whether regular coffee consumption is really good for you — especially in light of its impact on blood pressure and heart health.
This article tells you whether coffee affects your blood pressure — and whether you should consider dialing back your daily java fix.
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 200–300 mg of caffeine from coffee — approximately the amount you’d consume in 1.5–2 cups — resulted in an average increase of 8 mm Hg and 6 mm Hg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively (2).
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 (2).
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.
Summary 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.
Potential Long-Term Effects
Though coffee may increase your blood pressure temporarily right after drinking it, this effect doesn’t seem to extend far beyond the short term.
For people with high blood pressure, current research suggests that daily coffee consumption is unlikely to have a significant impact on blood pressure or overall risk of heart disease (2).
In fact, coffee may provide some health benefits.
For otherwise healthy people, research indicates that drinking 3–5 cups of coffee daily is linked to a 15% reduction in heart disease risk and a lower risk of premature death (3).
Coffee contains multiple bioactive compounds that are known to have strong antioxidant effects and may reduce oxidative stress in your body (4, 5).
Some researchers theorize that coffee’s health benefits may outweigh any potential negative effects that the caffeine could have on those who drink it regularly (2).
Still, more research is needed to better understand how coffee affects human health in the long term. For now, it appears to be perfectly safe and may even be a useful habit to have.
Summary Though long-term research is limited, some data indicates that drinking coffee frequently is not associated with increases in blood pressure or heart disease risk. In fact, coffee contains antioxidants that may promote heart health.
Should You Avoid Coffee If You Have High Blood Pressure?
For most people, moderate coffee consumption is unlikely to have a significant effect on blood pressure or heart disease risk — even if you have been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure.
In fact, the opposite may be true.
Some of the bioactive compounds present in coffee may offer health benefits, including reduced oxidative stress and inflammation (2, 4, 5).
Of course, excessive exposure to caffeine is ill-advised, especially if you already have high blood pressure.
If you don’t already drink coffee regularly, you may want to wait until your blood pressure is under control before adding this beverage to your routine, as it may increase your blood pressure in the short term.
Keep in mind that eating or drinking too much of anything can lead to negative health effects — coffee is no exception. It’s always important to maintain balance in your lifestyle and dietary habits.
Regular physical activity paired with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains remain among some of the best ways to promote healthy blood pressure and heart health (6).
Focusing on these kinds of healthy behaviors is likely a better use of your energy than being overly concerned about your coffee intake.
Summary Moderate coffee consumption on a regular basis is unlikely to worsen health outcomes in people with high blood pressure. Maintaining a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle will likely have more of an impact on blood pressure than coffee consumption.
The Bottom Line
Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages, but it has been blamed for causing high blood pressure.
Research indicates that coffee may lead to short-term increases in blood pressure.
However, no long-term associations with increases in blood pressure or risk of heart disease have been found in people who drink it regularly.
Rather, coffee may promote heart health due to its high antioxidant content.
Although more research is needed, drinking coffee in moderation is likely a safe habit for most people.