A study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 shows that the caffeine in a cup of coffee may help small blood vessels work better.
The researchers worked with 27 healthy adults, ages 22–30, which did not regularly drink coffee. On one day, each participant drank one 5-oz cup of either regular caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. Then researchers measured reactive hyperemia in the participants’ left index fingers, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body’s smaller blood vessels work. Two days later, the researchers repeated the procedure with the other type of coffee.
The researchers found that participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30% increase in vascular function in the index finger over 75 min compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee. In addition, compared to decaf, caffeinated coffee slightly raised participants’ blood pressure and improved vessel inner lining function. Heart rate levels were the same between the two groups.
“This gives us a clue about how coffee may help improve cardiovascular health,” said Masato Tsutsui, lead researcher and Cardiologist and Professor in the pharmacology department at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan.