How Does Caffeine Affect Your Blood Pressure?
There has been an ongoing debate for the past few years whether the intake of caffeine could lead to an increased blood pressure.
All the research that has been done on caffeine so far seems to verify that.
But does that mean that you have to stay away from your cup of java, or is it all a bit overblown? Surely you can still drink something as common as coffee, a lot of peoples favorite drink, and still stay healthy… Right?
In this article I will go into the details of how caffeine really affects your blood pressure, how much caffeine(or coffee) is safe to consume & the effects of caffeine overdoses on your bodily systems!
How Caffeine And Blood Pressure Correlate
Ask any individual in your environment what the first thing is they consume when they wake up in the morning and in most cases you will get the same response – Coffee.
This popular hot drink is often consumed even prior to breakfast. This is not only due to the irresistible flavor that coffee has, but it can also be attributed to caffeine and the stimulating effects it provides.
This is also the reason why caffeine is often present in sports supplements such as pre workouts, to get amped up both physically and mentally.
Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the body and mind, even more so, and with faster absorption when consumed on an empty stomach(most often prior to breakfast) Caffeine in coffee is created by the burning process of coffee beans. When coffee beans are burned for a short duration they contain the most caffeine. That is also why, contrary to common sense, the reason why generally, the darker and stronger the flavor of the coffee is – the less caffeine it contains.
Depending on what blend of beans you are enjoying – the caffeine content ranges from 12mg for decaf coffee to 200mg for a cup of Robusta coffee. The FDA’s general recommendation is that your daily consumption of caffeine doesn’t exceed 400mg per day, with less caffeine sensitive individuals tolerating dosages of up to 750-1000mg per day.
While most of us wouldn’t sacrifice the stimulating feeling that our morning cup of joe gives us, it does not come without consequences for our health, as the caffeine in coffee does indeed raise our blood pressure.
So Does That Mean You Should Ditch Coffee And Other Caffeine Beverages?
The research speaks for itself, caffeine does indeed raise our blood pressure. But should we be alarmed about that?
Not really it turns out.
You see, the raise in blood pressure is very mild and instant. It is sort fright your body gets, or more specifically your adrenal glands get from the stimulation that caffeine presents, and it therefore responds with a temporary raise in blood pressure which thereafter returns to your baseline blood pressure within 3 hours of consumption.
Also, more often than not it seems to occur in individuals that are not used to coffee/caffeine consumption in the first place, or those who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine. By increasing your consumption of caffeine your body will get used to the higher intakes of caffeine and the temporary increase in blood pressure should subside along with it.
Your overall tolerance will be higher that way.
There is one exception to this. When you are suffering from chronically elevated blood pressure it is recommended that you minimize your consumption of caffeine.
Of course, our biggest source of caffeine(at least in the west) is coffee. If your blood pressure is indeed elevated, try to consume no more than 3 cups of joe a day.
Are you still craving another cup? Go for decaffeinated coffee instead to satisfy your needs.
Why You Should Consume Caffeine Regularly!
Now that the blood pressure elephant has left the room, it is time to look at some of the bright sides of caffeine.
- A moderate consumption can lead to a pleasant increase in alertness. You will be able to concentrate better on any tasks at hand.
- Another upside of caffeine is that it boosts metabolic rate temporarily by up to 20%, causing you to burn more body fat for as long as the caffeine is active within your body(around 5 hours)
- Caffeine can be used as a pre-workout or sports supplement. It increases performance, and even more pronounced are the effects it has on endurance type of training.
Coffee is the most consumed caffeine rich beverage
Did I Consume Too Much Caffeine?
If you have been drinking coffee a little too vigorously you may experience any of the following symptoms.
- Feelings of anxiety/shakiness
- Increased feelings of fear
- Mental fatigue
- Increased heart rate
- On some occasions, even migraines can be triggered
By gauging when you experience(after how many cups of coffee/other caffeinated beverages) these symptoms you can determine your own level of tolerance for caffeine.
Since everyone has a different level of tolerance, this will require a certain degree of trial and error.
When You Should Avoid Caffeine
Since caffeine has a stimulating effect on your body it is recommended that you cease consumption of coffee, or other caffeine containing beverages a few hours prior to going to bed.
It takes anywhere from 4- to 6 hours to metabolize half of the caffeine you consume. So make sure you steer clear from caffeine at the very least 4 hours prior to going to bed, to prevent it from interfering with your nights rest!