Harvard researchers set out to test the idea that a lot of coffee isn’t good for your circulation. They followed 155,000 female nurses for 12 years, questioning them regularly about their caffeine-drinking habits and their blood pressure. No connection was found between their coffee intake and a risky rise in blood pressure.
In fact, results went the other way. Women who drank the most coffee seemed to develop some protection against the problem. The investigators continue to look into this possibility.
Caffeine may not be the reason, however. The researchers found that things went the other way when women drank copious amounts of caffeine-containing colas. Sugared or diet, the soft drinks increased their risk of high blood pressure by as much as 44 percent, compared with those who drank very little soda.
Tea drinking produced mixed results. That beverage increased hypertension risk in younger but not older women. The study did not collect information on that warming winter favorite – hot chocolate.
The results are reported in the Nov. 9, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.