Science News

This new study about coffee shows that genes regulate your coffee consumption

new study about coffee consumption and DNA - three hands drinking coffee
A new study about coffee consumption and DNA finds that our genes regulate the amount of coffee we drink, and protect us from consuming too much.

A new study about coffee finds that our genes regulate our coffee consumption, and also protect us from consuming too much.

The study, which looked at almost 400,000 people, appeared on March 12 in the the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The researchers found that people with high blood pressure, angina, and arrythmia were more likely to drink less coffee, decaffeinated coffee or avoid coffee altogether, compared to those without such symptoms. Furthermore, these preferences are based on genetics. 

“People subconsciously self-regulate safe levels of caffeine based on how high their blood pressure is,” said lead author Elina Hyppönen. This is likely a result of a protective genetic mechanism, she said.

“What this means is that someone who drinks a lot of coffee is likely more genetically tolerant of caffeine, as compared to someone who drinks very little,” said Hyppönen.

On the other hand, a non-coffee drinker, or someone who drinks decaffeinated coffee, “is more likely prone to the adverse effects of caffeine, and more susceptible to high blood pressure.”

Coffee and cardiovascular health

In Australia, one in four men, and one in five women suffer from high blood pressure. This condition is a risk factor for many chronic health conditions including stroke, heart failure and chronic kidney disease.

Using data from the UK Biobank, researchers examined the habitual coffee consumption of 390,435 people. They compared this data with baseline levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and baseline heart rate. They determined causal relationships via Mendelian randomization.

Hyppönen said that how much coffee we drink is likely to be an indicator of our cardio health. “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 cardio health,” she said.

Furthermore, “if your body is telling you not to drink that extra cup of coffee, there’s likely a reason why,” she said. “Listen to your body, it’s more in tune with what your health than you may think.”

At the individual level, this may help avoid potential harm that could arise from excessive coffee intakes.

At the same time, this research suggests that promoting of high coffee and caffeine intake as safe or beneficial is likely to be misguided. In fact, a more personalized approach that accounts for the individual characteristics is preferable.

Related news: This new study finds that shade-grown coffee could help save exotic birds.


Study: Cardiovascular symptoms affect the patterns of habitual coffee consumption
Authors: Elina Hyppönen and Ang Zhou
Published in: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Publication date: March 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqab014
Picture: by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Extra: coffee consumption backgrounder

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. According to the International Coffee Organization, coffee is consumed by over 500 million people per day. The origins of coffee can be traced back to Ethiopia, where wild coffee trees grow.

Nowadays, coffee is cultivated in over 70 countries.Coffee grows all over the world, in both temperate and tropical climates. Roasting coffee is more difficult because it requires special equipment, but it can also be tricky to ensure the quality of the cup.

Coffee bears bitter roasts, which can affect the flavor in a cup of tea, so roasting is a way of preserving the coffee flavor faster. Coffee can be enjoyed as a beverage or used as a cooking ingredient. It may be available as loose leaf, roasted, or in individual beans.

Some say coffee is good for stress relief. Others say that coffee makes you more alert. As with anything, moderation is key.

Five Coffee Consumption Secrets You Didn’t Know

Whether you’re a barista or a barista wannabe, there’s always something to learn about coffee. And with so many people drinking it nowadays, you’d think everyone would be an expert on the subject. We’ve got five secrets that only coffee pros know, and they’re full of great tips for your morning routine!

1. Grind it yourself

If you want to make your own coffee, all you really need is a grinder. The smaller the grind, the faster the brewing process. Grind your beans in small batches and keep them in a jar. Your coffee will stay fresh for up to two weeks.

The trick to making great tasting coffee is to grind your beans just before brewing. If you grind it too far ahead of time, the flavor of the coffee will disappear, and your coffee will be weak and bland.

Before the coffee is ground, the beans must be dried properly. You’ll get different flavors from different beans depending on their size, shape, and how they were harvested.

Perfectly dried beans should output a consistent grind, aroma, and flavor.

2. Roast your own coffee beans to make a truly unique brew

There is some controversy in the coffee world over the reason behind the flavor loss. Some say that flavor loss is caused by a chemical containing a chlorogenic acid from the roasting process. This is because chlorogenic acid oxidizes or changes its molecule shape in response to heat. Therefore, by the time a bean is roasted, the flavor has changed beyond recognition, and a coffee bean must be discarded.

Others say it is due to over-roasting at a high temperature. This causes a deep, bitter taste.

So roast your beans at a lower temperature. You can roast them at 170–175°F for about 15–20 minutes. This will give the flavor time to properly develop and reduce any oxidization.You won’t lose any of the flavor, and the more commonly consumed ground coffee cup will remain flavorful and very much intact.

3. Store your beans for the best flavor and freshness

Coffee beans are like any other plant-based food in that they can deteriorate over time. Once coffee beans are roasted, they begin to lose flavor and aroma. So it’s best to store coffee in an airtight container, at room temperature, away from heat and light.

The best place to store your beans is in a dark, cool, dry place. Be sure not to store your coffee in the fridge or freezer because it will lose its flavor and become stale much quicker.

4. The secret ingredient in your coffee that makes it tastier

If you are like most people, you probably put a lot of sugar in your coffee to make it taste better. However, that can be bad for your teeth and your stomach. So, what’s the secret ingredient in your coffee that will make it taste better? It’s fat. Milk with coffee can’t be beat.

5. Where do the best coffee beans come from?

The best coffee beans in the world come from Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Hawaii. More specifically, try looking for Kona beans (Hawaii), Yirgacheffe beans (Ethiopia), Supremo beans (Colombia), and Santos beans (Brazil).

Some say the best coffee beans on the market come from a place called Kona. It’s a region on the big island of Hawaii, and the volcanic soil and climate make for some of the most amazing coffee in the world. Brazilian Santos is more earthy-tasting than the others, often with higher antioxidant levels.

Every country’s coffee consumption culture differs, and they all naturally have and produce very distinct types of beans. But each of these have one thing in common: they’re delicious.

From the Dominican Republic to New Zealand, many coffee regions produce excellent arabica coffee (the region’s version of Arabica coffee), but they also have a lot of robusta coffee. These have slightly different flavours, but are still very strong, dark, and sometimes slightly bitter. Just like good red wine, robusta coffee is perfectly balanced and has undoubtedly saved many from alcoholism.

Related posts
Science NewsSleep and dreams

What does it mean to have dreams about snakes?

Dreams about snakes are among the most common types of animal dream. But what do they mean? This handy explainer lets you know.
Science News

Despite taking €100 million in government aid in 2020, travel giant Booking gives CFO a €20 million bonus

Despite taking €100 million in pandemic-related government aid in 2020, travel giant Booking.com has given its CFO a €20 million bonus
PersonalityScience News

The Big Five: openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, and conscientiousness

The Big Five personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Learn more about them here.