Coffee acquitted on blood pressure charge

Coffee drinkers can relax – the world's most popular beverage does not increase blood pressure, a study has found.

Coffee drinkers can relax – the world's most popular beverage does not increase blood pressure, a study has found.

Coffee has been linked in recent years with increased risk of heart disease, arthritis and cot deaths, but the postulated link with blood pressure stretches back six decades.

Now, new research has shown moderate drinking has no impact on blood pressure, even after 30 years of espressos.

The study, at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, involved more than 1,000 men who graduated between 1948 and 1964 and whose coffee drinking habits have been monitored for more than three decades.

Researchers compared the consumption of coffee to increases in blood pressure but found that, although sustained coffee drinking was associated with a small increase in blood pressure, drinkers were at no more risk than non-drinkers of developing hypertension.

Michael Klag and colleagues write in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "Non-drinkers were at lower risk of hypertension than coffee drinkers but there was no progressive increase in risk associated with higher levels of coffee intake."

Coffee remains under suspicion, though. Pregnant women in the UK were recently advised to drink no more than four cups a day because of worries it could increase the risk of miscarriage.

Most concern about coffee drinking has focused on its caffeine content, although evidence suggests it does more good than harm in moderate quantities, improving short-term memory, boosting muscle power and raising alertness.

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