Uncover the Power of Coffee: Keep Blood Pressure Low

08-Feb-2023 - Italy

Drinking coffee helps maintain low blood pressure. People who drink two or three cups of coffee a day have lower blood pressure than those who drink just one cup or none at all. This applies both to peripheral and central aortic pressure, i.e. the one closest to the heart.

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This was shown by a research published in the journal Nutrients, carried out by scholars of the University of Bologna and the Unversity Hospital of Bologna - Sant'Orsola Polyclinic. The investigation analysed the association between coffee consumption and peripheral and central blood pressure parameters in a sample of the Italian population.

"The results obtained show that those who regularly drink coffee have significantly lower blood pressure, both on peripheral and central levels, than those who do not drink it," explains Arrigo Cicero, professor at the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the University of Bologna and first author of the study. "This is the first study to observe this association in the Italian population, and the data confirm the positive effect of coffee consumption on cardiovascular risk," adds Prof. Claudio Borghi, who led the study.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in Italy and the world: it is estimated that almost 10 million tons of coffee were consumed globally in 2020 and 2021. Despite the long-standing fears of its negative health consequences, several benefits have long since emerged: a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and certain neurodegenerative and liver diseases has been observed among regular coffee drinkers. However, it is not yet clear what these benefits are due to, and they do not appear to be directly related to the effects of caffeine.

"Caffeine is only one of the several coffee components and certainly not the only one with an active role. Positive effects on human health have indeed been recorded even among those who consume decaffeinated coffee," says Cicero. "We know that caffeine can increase blood pressure, but other bioactive components in coffee seem to counterbalance this effect with a positive end result on blood pressure levels."

To investigate these effects, especially with respect to central blood pressure values, the scholars looked at a sample of 720 men and 783 women from a sub-cohort of the Brisighella Heart Study, which is an observational study coordinated by Claudio Borghi, professor at the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences at the University of Bologna.  Blood pressure levels and coffee consumption habits, along with a range of other clinical data, were compared for each selected individual.

"The results are very clear: peripheral blood pressure was significantly lower in individuals consuming one to three cups of coffee a day than in non-coffee drinkers," Cicero explains. "And for the first time, we were also able to confirm these effects with regard to the central aortic pressure, the one close to the heart, where we observe an almost identical phenomenon with entirely similar values for habitual coffee drinkers compared to non-coffee drinkers."

Indeed, data show lower values for coffee drinkers in both systolic and pulse pressure, and in both peripheral circulation and central aortic pressure. All results confirm the positive effects of coffee in mitigating the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study was published in the journal Nutrients under the title “Self-Reported Coffee Consumption and Central and Peripheral Blood Pressure in the Cohort of the Brisighella Heart Study”. The authors are Arrigo Cicero, Federica Fogacci, Sergio D'Addato, Elisa Grandi, Elisabetta Rizzoli and Claudio Borghi of the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences of the University of Bologna and IRCCS (Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare) University Hospital of Bologna - Sant'Orsola Polyclicnic.

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