The coffee it is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. And it seems that there is no other food that gives us that quick and efficient injection of energy like coffee does. But, have you ever wondered what makes you prefer to drink one type of coffee over another? Why do you prefer to pour milk to the east than to drink it alone or with more water?
There are those who need to drink coffee with all its caffeine power. However, there are those who dispense with it and opt for decaffeinated or those who prefer the foam of a cappuccino.
Australian researchers have analyzed what regulates and decides how to consume coffee, and they have observed that genetics actively regulate the amount of coffee we drink and how we drink it. In addition, they have also concluded that this information says more about the consumer’s cardiovascular health than is believed.
Blood pressure and heart rate, keys to measuring coffee consumption
In a first worldwide study of 390,435 people, researchers from the University of South Australia found causal genetic evidence that cardiovascular health influences coffee consumption. In this case, you should focus on both blood pressure and heart rate.
The team found that people with high blood pressure, angina, and arrhythmia were likely to drink less coffee, decaf, or avoid it altogether. Compared to those without such symptoms, and that this was based on genetics.
The lead researcher and director of the Australian Center for Precision Health at UniSA, Professor Elina Hyppönen, believes this is a positive finding. This shows that genetics actively regulates the amount of coffee we drink, and protects us from consuming too much.
“People drink coffee for all kinds of reasons: as a stimulus when they feel tired, because it tastes good, or simply because it is part of their daily routine. But what we don’t recognize is that people subconsciously self-regulate safe caffeine levels based on how high their blood pressure is. And this is probably the result of a protective genetic mechanism, ”says Hyppönen.
This does not mean that someone who drinks a lot of coffee is likely to be more genetically tolerant of caffeine, compared to someone who drinks very little. “In contrast, a person who does not drink coffee, or someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee, is more prone to the adverse effects of caffeine and more susceptible to high blood pressure,” he warns.
The amount of coffee we drink is proportional to cardiovascular health
In Australia, one in four men and one in five women suffer from high blood pressure, and the condition is a risk factor for many chronic health conditions, such as strokes, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
Using data from the UK Biobank, the researchers examined the habitual coffee consumption of 390,435 people. Comparing it to baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, and baseline heart rate. Causal relationships were determined by Mendelian randomization.
Therefore, for Hyppönen, the amount of coffee that is drunk is probably an indicator of the cardiovascular health of the person who consumes it. “Whether we drink a lot of coffee, a little or avoid caffeine altogether, this study shows that genetics are guiding our decisions to protect our cardiovascular health,” he adds.
“If your body tells you not to drink that extra cup of coffee, there is probably a reason. Listen to your body, it is more in tune with your health than you think », concludes the researcher.