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Coffee Lowers Your Blood Pressure

As I sit here writing this morning, sipping my first cup of coffee, I feel that sense of calm satisfaction you get when you've been right about something all along.  I'm not gloating here, just saying...

It all started years ago when I was a Family Medicine resident doing my first rotation in Obstetrics in 2001 in downtown Memphis.  Being an intern is never fun, but I had a reasonable chief resident which made life tolerable.

Bodum Chambord Coffee Press
My favorite...
One morning on rounds we entered a young ladies room, who was sipping her morning's first cup of coffee.  She had preeclampsia so bad she was being kept as an inpatient on a Magnesium drip, and for fetal monitoring.  My chief resident, during his exam/discussion, asked her about the coffee.  She said she had two or three cups every morning.  He then did what countless doctors do every day with the very best of intentions, he gave her medical advice based on nothing but the foggiest of assumptions;
    "You shouldn't drink coffee, Ma'am, it'll run up your blood pressure."
    "Oh?", she said with raised brow.
    "Yes," he said, "better to drink milk or juice."
    "Oh." she said without emotion.
When we finished our exam and "counseling" session, and left her room, my chief resident turns to me and says,    
    "Hey dogmeat (my intern name), get me some research on how coffee is bad for you; I don't think she believed me."
    "OK?" I said with raised brow.
    "Yeah, everyone knows it's bad for you, I just need the proof." he said.
    "OK." I said without emotion.

illy iperEspresso Capsules Dark Roast Coffee, 21-Count Capsules
My favorite...
This is a tactic used by chief residents the world over to get research done without actually doing it.  In the process of "educating" me, he also gets free research done for himself.  I guess that's a fair trade.  So off I go to the computer.  It was obvious what his opinion on the matter was so I was on  a mission to prove him right.

I soon ran into a little problem.  After a few hours researching "coffee consumption" on PubMed (the clearing-house of all medical research), I had discovered several key facts:

  • Researchers have been trying for decades to prove coffee consumption is bad for you
  • All Researchers seem to initially believe coffee consumption is somehow bad for you
  • The studies keep showing, time and again, that coffee consumption is NOT bad for you
  • Most studies actually show positive effects from coffee consumption
  • After years of trying, Researchers can't prove that coffee consumption is bad for you
  • They can't even prove it's bad for that most precious and fragile creature, the pregnant woman
  • In our lady's case, there was not a shred of evidence to prove what he had told her; actually, the research leaned the other direction
I relayed this info to my chief resident who seemed unmoved by the evidence.  Early next morning, we again visit with our preeclamptic patient, checking her labs and her reflexes;
    "Good morning." she said, sipping her coffee.
    "Good morning, let's check those reflexes." said my chief resident, without emotion.

The Joy of Coffee: The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying - Revised and Updated
A Good Book
So, let me perhaps be the first doctor to every say the following;

  • Coffee is not bad for you
  • Coffee has been proven time and again to be good for you in multiple ways
  • You should probably drink a few cups of coffee every morning
  • Don't criticize your pregnant friend if you "catch her" drinking coffee
  • Just for fun, ask your doctor is coffee bad for you...
Here are just a few of the 2500 articles currently listed on PubMed you might like:

I could go on all day.  The great irony here is that most of these studies where undertaken to prove just the opposite of the findings.  For example, in a Finnish study, researchers were pretty convinced that coffee consumption lead to an increased risk of Heart Failure.  Poor fellows, after they had crunched all their numbers, they found that not only was their assumption dead wrong, but probably the more coffee one drank, the less likely one was to suffer from heart failure.

This seems to fit nicely with my theory that if something grows on trees, or in the garden, it is good for you.  So, I'm going to pour myself another cup of coffee, and I suggest you do the same.


  1. I like your article, Dr Berry, and I like your style, i.e. irony and honesty. - I also like your conclusion about coffee...(o:


  2. Let me tell you want really happened. The Medical Resident either A) resented the Chief resident, or B) like most Americans, wanted to feel like he/she knew more than the chief resident, because, lets face it, most of us don't ever acquire true "distinguishment" in society, thus a feeling of accomplishment, so it is easier to front. As a result of fronting with the hoax of knowing everything, the new Medical Resident was compelled to somehow prove the Chief Resident wrong. Bottom line is, new Medical Resident's pride/ego/aspiration to become a distinguished know-it all, took the back-road to question his authority, having no authority him/herself (as having no real accomplishment or distinguishment in life, and like most of us too stupid and lazy to ever will), thereby creating a consequence to the detriment of the poor lady who probably should have stopped drinking so much of the stimulant substance and, you and me, who, probably should know that coffee is bad for you; but, after reading this probably just mopped along thinking you can continue to drink it, though our blood pressure is already taking us to the grave.

    Nice article by the way.

  3. Anonymous18 May, 2012

    I think it's important to know who funded all those studies.

  4. Maybe this idea came about because many people liked to smoke cigarettes while drinking their coffee. So maybe some had a heart attack or stroke while drinking coffee (and smoking their cigarette). Also sugar and cream are not good for health.

  5. Hi Chuck Bluestein

    I agree that sugar is bad for health. But can't agree that cream (real organic cream made with milk from grass-fed cows) is anything but good for us.