No evidence that coffee ups risk of high blood pressure: study

Thu Apr 21, 2011 9:38pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Go ahead. Have that second cup of coffee -- or maybe even a third.

Despite previous concerns, downing lots of coffee doesn't seem to increase the risk of high blood pressure, says a U.S. study.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, has been linked to heart disease, stroke and a shorter life expectancy, and some scientists have suggested that coffee might fuel the problem.

But according to a report in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that pooled data from six previous studies, covering 170,000 people, this did not appear to be the case.

"The results suggest that habitual coffee consumption of more than 3 cups per day was not associated with an increased risk of hypertension compared with less than one cup per day," wrote Liwei Chen, from the Louisiana State University School of Public Health in New Orleans, who worked on the study.

But Chen added that more data would be needed in order to draw a firm conclusion, noting that the report "is not saying there's no risk" to drinking lots of java.

What's more, people who drank between one and three cups per day had a slightly higher risk of high blood pressure than those who drank less, a result the researchers couldn't explain.

The studies surveyed the participants to find out how many cups of coffee they drank each day, from less than one to more than five, and then followed them for up to 33 years.

Just more than one in five eventually developed high blood pressure, with the chance of being diagnosed with the condition no different for people who said they chugged more than five cups of coffee a day and those who drank very little.   Continued...

<p>A farmer picks coffee fruits during a harvest in the Karo district in Indonesia's North Sumatra province February 25, 2011. REUTERS/Y.T. Haryono</p>