Several things affect your blood pressure. Two
involve the heart.
If the heart beats faster or harder (pumping
more blood per beat), this will increase your
blood pressure. Coffee usually contains caffeine.
A study that appeared in the American Journal of
Hypertension in 2000 tested healthy college
students and found that their blood pressure
went up significantly when they drank juice
containing caffeine. Students who drank juice
without caffeine didn't have an increase in blood
pressure. Neither the students nor the people
measuring blood pressure knew which students were
getting the caffeine in their juice. Why do you
think the experiment was set up this way?
Another experiment showed that people who drank
decaffeinated triple espressos had an increase in
blood pressure, just like those people who drank
regular triple espressos. Maybe other chemicals
in coffee raised their BP, or maybe it was the
"placebo effect," which is what happens when
people have a physical response because they think
they're getting a drug.
Another study showed that caffeine made
arteries less flexible, which would also lead to
high blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead
to strokes, kidney disease, and heart attacks.
That's why people worry about their blood
Some things that reduce blood pressure are:
not using caffeine or tobacco,
exercising regularly (during exercise your BP will
go up, but your resting BP will be lower),
reducing fat, salt, and cholesterol in what you eat,
and avoiding and reducing stress.
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