‘Coffee boosts alertness, calms the heart’

August 27th, 2008 - 3:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Aug 27 (IANS) “Whether you are hooked on caffeine or not, if you need a boost, coffee improves your mental alertness and can have a calming affect on your heart rate,” says Michael Kennedy, a professor at the University of Alberta.Kennedy, the co-author of a new study that proved his point, said: “In addition, one large coffee has more than enough caffeine to see these changes”.

Kennedy and his team looked at how 10 women who drank coffee daily and 10 other women who drank less than two servings per week were affected, by measuring heart rate, blood pressure, alertness and the ability to perform a tough mental test after consuming a 350-ml sized coffee. The study subjects were aged 18 to 37.

The study report appeared in the latest edition of Nutrition Research.

In the study, after eating a normal breakfast, participants were asked to drink a cup of regular coffee containing approximately 140 ml of caffeine. After allowing 50 minutes for its absorption, participants in both groups were required to complete two word tasks. Heart rate, blood pressure (BP) and alertness were monitored before and after the test.

Of some concern, noted Kennedy, is that baseline BP taken before the groups digested the caffeine was significantly higher in the habituated coffee drinkers.

“This indicates that there may be some long-term cardiovascular adjustment to digesting caffeine on a daily basis,” said Kennedy, adding that though the sample was small, the results were statistically and clinically significant.

“For people at risk for high BP, if you’re a habituated coffee drinker, reducing your caffeine intake would be an effective way of potentially reducing your blood pressure.”

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