New research has found a link between a person’s cardiovascular health and their coffee consumption.
In a world-first study, researchers from the University of South Australia discovered causal genetic evidence that cardiovascular health – as reflected in blood pressure and heart rate – influences coffee consumption.
They found people who suffer from high blood pressure, angina, and arrhythmia were more likely to drink less coffee, decaffeinated coffee, or avoid coffee completely compared to those without these conditions, and this association was down to a person’s genetic code.
Professor Elina Hyppönen, lead researcher and director of the university’s Australian Centre for Precision Health, explained that our genetics regulate the amount of coffee we consume and protect us from drinking too much.
“What we don’t recognise is that people subconsciously self-regulate safe levels of caffeine based on how high their blood pressure is, and this is likely a result of a protective genetic mechanism,” she stated.
“What this means is that someone who drinks a lot of coffee is likely more genetically tolerant of caffeine, as compared to someone who drinks very little. Conversely, a non-coffee drinker, or someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee, is more likely prone to the adverse effects of caffeine, and more susceptible to high blood pressure.”
The researchers analysed data on the habitual coffee consumption of more than 390,000 people in the UK Biobank study and compared this information with baseline levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and baseline heart rate.
According to Professor Hyppönen, the findings suggest the amount of coffee we drink is likely to be an indicator of our cardiovascular health.
“This study shows that genetics are guiding our decisions to protect our cardio health,” she explained. “If your body is telling you not to drink that extra cup of coffee, there’s likely a reason why. Listen to your body, it’s more in tune with your health than you may think.”