April 26/American Journal of Clinical Nutrition -- A new meta-analysis pooling the results of six long-term prospective studies provides data that habitual coffee consumption is not linked with a higher risk of high blood pressure.

Regular consumption of coffee has been linked with many benefits such as a decreased risk of diabetes mellitus type 2, Parkinson's Disease, dementia, stroke, various cancers, and heart arrhythmias. Coffee is also known to be a powerful antioxidant.

Despite the benefits garnered by drinking coffee, there has also been concern that it may increase the risk of high blood pressure, a condition linked with many negative outcomes including stroke, heart attack, and death. Two previous meta-analyses of coffee drinking demonstrated a slight increase in the risk of high blood pressure. However, these studies were of a short duration, lasting 85 days or less.

The new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition included 172,567 patients with a minimum follow-up of over six years. The researchers found that compared to drinking less than one cup of coffee daily, the relative risk of high blood pressure when drinking 1-3 cups of coffee was 1.09; that for drinking 3-5 cups of coffee was 1.07; that for drinking 5 or more cups of coffee daily was 1.08.

The researchers concluded that habitually drinking coffee was not associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure although there was a slight increase in risk with moderate coffee consumption (3-5 cups daily).

From the April 27, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.