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Does Drinking Coffee Affect Circulation?

By Joseph Pritchard

Despite its potential negative effects on health, moderate coffee drinking does not seem to increase risk of heart disease, explains the Harvard School of Public Health. Coffee drinking has been associated with mild cholesterol elevations that could potentially affect your circulation. However, a study published in a 2009 issue of “Circulation” found that long-term coffee consumption did not directly increase the risk of stroke. Evidence from the study suggests that coffee consumption may in fact lower your risk of stroke.

Circulation

Your heart is the muscle that is responsible for circulating your blood throughout your body. The rate and pressure at which your heart pumps blood through your blood vessels have implications on your overall health. Exercising for at least 30 minutes daily as well as folowing a diet rich in fruits and vegetables but low on saturated fats and cholesterol will help keep your heart healthy. Coffee contains caffeine that causes your heart rate to elevate, MedlinePlus, a service of the National Institutes of Health, notes. However, this only becomes problematic if coffee consumption reaches or exceeds 80 ounces daily. Drinking about 24 ounces of coffee daily is considered average to moderate and has not been associated with causing long-term harm to your circulation.

Risk of Stroke

A study featured in a 2009 issue of “Circulation” shows that coffee consumption lowered the risk of stroke in women without any history of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes or cancer. However, the study also pointed out that factors such as age, smoking status, body mass index, level of physical activity and diet also affected circulation and risk of stroke. More research is necessary to determine if coffee has the same effect on men.

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Higher Blood Pressure

Coffee drinking caused an increase in blood pressure in nonhabitual coffee drinkers, according to a study featured in a 2001 issue of “Circulation.” The study also found that coffee did not cause the blood pressure of habitual coffee drinkers to increase. However, because the results also showed that decaffeinated coffee caused the blood pressure of nonhabitual coffee drinkers to increase, coffee components other than caffeine must also be responsible for affecting your cardiovascular system and circulation. Further research is needed to determine what other factors as well as substances in coffee cause blood pressure to increase.

Elevates Cerebral Blood Flow

The results of a study published in a 2009 issue of “Human Brain Mapping” suggest that consuming an average of 950 milligrams of caffeine daily reduced cerebral blood flow by about 27 percent. This means that drinking high amounts of coffee potentially impairs blood circulation in your brain in the long run. More research is needed to determine what other factors are involved as well as any possible means of reducing this effect.

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