High levels of coffee consumption may protect non-smokers against hypertension, a study suggests.
But more evidence is needed to fully understand the link between caffeine and hypertension in smokers.
A study by Guessous et al found regular caffeine intake over a short-term period – less than three months – can increase a person’s blood pressure.
Furthermore, a high consumption of caffeine at ‘dietary levels’ also appears to raise blood pressure readings.
Yet the study concludes 'there is no clear evidence that regular caffeine intake over long periods of time increases the incidence of hypertension.'
Among non-smokers, individuals who reported 1-3 cups of coffee a day, 4-6 cups/day, and more than 6 cups/day were 13%, 22% and 41% less likely to have hypertension respectively than someone who reported 0 cups of coffee a day.
The results are said to support a 'negative causal relationship' between caffeine intake and blood pressure.
“Overall, our findings suggest that high caffeine intake might protect non-smokers against hypertension,” said Guessous et al.
Dr Euan Paul, Executive Director of the British Coffee Association, said more research is needed to fully understand the study’s results for both non-smokers and smokers.
“This study adds to the growing weight of evidence which shows that moderate coffee consumption, of 4 – 5 cups a day, does not affect an individual’s blood pressure and supports the advice from the British Heart Foundation,” he said.