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Study indicates that consuming one to three cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of hypertension

Publicado em 26 junho 2020

Por Júlio Bernardes | Jornal da USP

Study with 8,780 participants concluded that moderate coffee intake can reduce the risk of hypertension by 20%

Research with 8,780 participants shows that moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of hypertension by 20%; Recent studies have shown that the beneficial effect of moderate coffee consumption is attributed to polyphenols, bioactive compounds, which are found in abundance in this drink.

The association between coffee consumption and the risk of hypertension is investigated in research by the USP School of Public Health (FSP). Based on an analysis of drinking habits, sociodemographic, lifestyle, blood tests and blood pressure measurements for a group of 8,780 civil servants, the study concluded that moderate coffee intake (one to three cups per day) can reduce the risk of hypertension by 20%. The results of the study are detailed in an article from the scientific publication Clinical Nutritionon the 7th of June.

The research used data from the Longitudinal Study on Adult Health (ELSA Brasil), conducted with 15,105 employees from six Brazilian public institutions of higher education and research. “Through a standardized questionnaire, sociodemographic data were obtained, such as age, sex, skin color, per capita family income, educational level”, reports Andreia Miranda, post-doctoral student at FSP who carried out the present study. “In addition, lifestyle data were also obtained, including physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, as well as medical and family history, use of medication, in addition to measuring weight and height and evaluation of food consumption through a specific questionnaire. ”

During the research, blood was collected for biochemical analyzes and the blood pressure of the participants was also measured by a previously trained nurse. “For the present study, individuals with a diagnosis of hypertension at the beginning of the study were excluded from the sample, those who had a previous history of cardiovascular disease (myocardial infarction, stroke and heart surgery), in addition to those who had no information about the coffee consumption ”, explains the researcher. “Thus, 8,780 participants were analyzed, with an average follow-up of four years.”

Coffee consumption was obtained through a food frequency questionnaire, grouped into four categories: those who never or almost never drank coffee, those who drank less than one cup a day, one to three cups a day and more than three cups per day. “It was defined that the size of the doses of coffee is 50 milliliters (50 ml), which corresponds to a small cup”, reports Andreia. “The presence of hypertension was defined as a pressure value above 140 per 90 mm of mercury (mmHg), the use of antihypertensive medication or both.”

Coffee consumption Coffee consumption was obtained through a food frequency questionnaire, grouped into four categories: those who never or almost never drank coffee, those who drank less than one cup a day, one to three cups a day and more than three cups a day – Photo: Marcos Santos / USP Images

To analyze the relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of hypertension, a statistical method, known as Poisson regression, was used, which allowed the calculation of the relative risk and the respective confidence interval. “The final model was adjusted according to other variables described in the literature that could influence the result, such as age, sex, skin color, educational level, income, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, body mass index (BMI), consumption of fruits and vegetables, intake of sodium, potassium and saturated fat, added sugar, use of supplements, and serum levels of glucose, total cholesterol and triglycerides ”, points out the researcher. “In previous studies, it is already well documented that smoking is a risk factor, strongly associated with coffee intake and that it can influence the development of cardiovascular disease, especially in hypertension. For this reason, the effect of the interaction between coffee and smoking was assessed in the survey. ”

The survey found that the average consumption of coffee is 150 ml per day, the equivalent of three cups. “Most participants reported consuming the drink with caffeine, filtered / strained and with added sugar, which corresponds to the traditional habit of consuming coffee by Brazilians. During the four years of follow-up, a total of 1,285 participants developed hypertension ”, highlights Andreia. “Thus, it was possible to observe a significant inverse association between moderate coffee consumption and the incidence of hypertension. That is, compared to people who never or almost never drank coffee, the risk of hypertension was approximately 20% lower in those who drank one to three cups a day ”. “Recent studies show that the beneficial effect of moderate coffee consumption is attributed to polyphenols, bioactive compounds that are found in abundance in this drink.”

As there was a significant interaction between smoking and coffee intake, new statistical analyzes were performed. “There was then a decrease in the risk of hypertension only in people who never smoked and drank one to three cups a day”, says the researcher.

Among smokers and non-smokers, as well as in the largest category of coffee consumption, that is, those who drank more than three cups a day, there was no significant association in the risk of developing hypertension. “These findings do not allow us to affirm that there is a risk in this population or that it is a dose harmful to health,” says Andreia. “In summary, the results show the beneficial effect of ingesting one to three cups of coffee a day and the importance of moderating the consumption of this drink to prevent hypertension.”

The research was supported by the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp) and had the collaboration of professors Alessandra Goulart, Isabela Benseñor and Paulo Lotufo, from the Center for Clinical and Epidemiological Research at USP University Hospital (HU) and the USP School of Medicine (FMUSP) and Professor Dirce Marchioni, from FSP. The search results are presented in the article Coffee consumption and risk of hypertension: A prospective analysis in the cohort study, published in Clinical Nutrition Journal.