By Amber Yang and JoJo Novaes
Coffee and tea are everyday drinks that have an invigorating effect. They both contain caffeine. However, a new study found that coffee has the risk of increasing blood pressure, while tea does not.
Dr. Ou Han Wen, a doctor of integrative medicine and nutrition at the University of Maryland, said on The Epoch Times health program “Health 1+1” that whether it’s tea or coffee, it’s important to drink it correctly.
Many people think high blood pressure is caused by aging, making the cardiovascular wall less flexible and narrower, requiring more pressure to get the blood out. However, according to Ou, 90 percent of hypertension has no known cause.
Functional medicine has found that hypertension is triggered by inflammation of the endothelium in the blood vessels, which consumes nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a key factor that can help blood vessels relax and prevent blood clots from coagulating. Many factors can cause inflammation of the blood vessels, including insulin resistance, increased blood sugar, chronic inflammation of the body caused by inappropriate food intake, and obesity.
Can Coffee Cause High Blood Pressure?
A study published in December 2022 in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that coffee could increase the risk of hypertension, worrying many coffee lovers. Ou said the focus of the study should be on daily caffeine intake, which is the key to high blood pressure.
Usually, a cup of 240cc coffee contains 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine, while the same volume of green tea contains only 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine can stimulate the sympathetic nerves and makes the heart beat faster, blood vessels constrict, and blood pressure naturally rise.
Who Should Avoid Drinking Coffee?
The following people should avoid drinking coffee. Those with:
- Adrenal fatigue
- Stomach pain, acid reflux
- Caffeine metabolism gene variant
Coffee stimulates the sympathetic nerves and prevents sleep. If you habitually take sleeping pills, coffee will affect the drug’s metabolism and increase the burden on the body.
Coffee also stimulates adrenaline. When the body gets very tired, coffee can cause physical strain.
Ou said that coffee and tea are rich in natural phytochemicals and have many health benefits. They can be consumed in appropriate amounts except for people with specific diseases.
Benefits of Coffee
- Good for patients with postoperative intestinal obstruction
- Promotes metabolism, helps burn fat and lose weight
- Reduces the risk of hypertension
- Reduces the risk of liver cancer
- Reduces the risk of dementia (Alzheimer’s disease)
- Reduces the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver
- Reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease
- Reduces the incidence of stroke
- Improves exercise performance
For coffee addicts, Ou suggests adding the following to mitigate the effects of caffeine on blood pressure:
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon contains polyphenols that can lower blood pressure. Extracted and refined cinnamon helps to control blood sugar.
- Green tea: Green tea contains catechins that can relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
- Black soy milk: Black beans have antioxidant anthocyanins that contribute to cardiovascular health.
Tea Is Good for Hypertensive Patients
The study mentioned above also found that although tea also contains caffeine, it is helpful for people with high blood pressure. This is because tea contains anti-inflammatory polyphenols and catechins: antioxidants, fat burners, and blood pressure-lowering agents.
How do you choose an ideal tea for high blood pressure patients?
Ou recommends the following in ascending order of caffeine content:
- Decaffeinated South African national tea
- Decaffeinated green tea
- Oolong tea
- Black tea
Ou pointed out that although tea is healthy, you should not drink tea instead of water because:
- Caffeine: It may affect cardiovascular health.
- Diuretic effect: If you’re dehydrated, it may remove water from the body, leading to another chronic inflammatory condition.
- Night urination prevents sleep: The diuretic nature of tea leaves makes people urinate more at night, affecting sleep quality.
Who Should Avoid Drinking Tea?
People who have the following issues should avoid drinking tea:
- Sleep disorders: Caffeine will stimulate the sympathetic nerves, making it difficult to fall asleep.
- Night urination problem: Tea is not good for people who have nocturnal urination. Night urination will lead to poor sleep quality and further increase the risk of hypertension.
- Poor kidney function: Diuretic tea and drinks will increase the kidney burden. People with kidney function issues should drink filtered water.
- Iron deficiency anemia: Theophylline in tea will affect iron absorption in the intestine. Drinking tea will worsen the anemia of patients with iron deficiency anemia.
- Poor gastrointestinal function: Caffeine in tea helps open the channel between the stomach and esophagus, and the food in the stomach easily refluxes with this open channel.
- People taking medication: The theophylline in tea will affect the absorption of drugs. It is best to take the medication with filtered water.
Ou said that the best temperature for tea is 95 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit, which can release the most catechins. And try not to add sugar, as it will affect the composition of the tea leaves. If you don’t like the bitter taste of tea, you can use honey, citrus, and other natural sweeteners.