Reducing Blood Pressure—Sans Soda or Coffee?

Medically reviewed in October 2021

Which is more likely to lead to high blood pressure -- chugging colas or gulping coffee?

Point your finger at the soda. In a study of women, a cola-a-day habit was associated with about 15% higher risk factors for hypertension, while a pattern of coffee drinking appeared to have little impact.

Can the Cola
In fact, the more cola the women drank daily, the more they showed risk factors for hypertension, even if they drank diet cola. And because the same effect was not seen with coffee drinkers, the researchers speculate that it's not the caffeine that makes cola bad for blood pressure, but something else entirely -- possibly the corn syrup used to sweeten it, or the coloring used to give it that caramel look. (Find out whether you should be reducing blood pressure.)

Caveats on Caffeine
Caffeine can temporarily increase blood pressure in people who are sensitive to the stuff, so it's best to cut back on caffeine if reducing blood pressure is your goal; if you display risk factors for hypertension; or if you are generally sensitive to caffeine's effects. For most others, though, consuming up to 250 milligrams of caffeine per day may be safe.

Learn more about the players in the blood pressure game: your heart, nerves, kidneys, and hormones.

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