Drinking coffee has health benefits

null Gracia Suarez got hooked on coffee 40 years ago and she hasn't missed a day since.

"It wakes me up in the morning. It makes me feel good. I like the smell of coffee," said Garcia.

Now some great news for her and other coffee lovers. A study in the Journal Circulation shows coffee may reduce her chances of getting a stroke.

"There were over 80,000 women who were studied over a 24 year period. It showed that there was a modest reduction in women who drank more than two to three cups of coffee a day," said neurologist, Dr. Arbi Ohanian.

Dr. Arbi Ohanian says this is one of the first large studies to look at this coffee-stroke connection.

"And in particular I think is very interesting because this is the first time that looks at women specifically," said Dr. Ohanian.

So how does coffee protect against stroke? Study authors suspect the plant phenols in coffee may prevent the breakdown of cellular DNA plus coffee also helps reduce inflammation in the body. In the study, diet soda and tea drinkers did not have the same benefits, but decaf coffee drinkers did.

"So they looked at people who drank both types of coffee and in both groups there was a reduction in stokes. Doesn't seem to be caffeine that plays a role," said Dr. Ohanian.

So should women strive to drink two to three cups a day? Dr. Ohanian says no. And if you really want to reduce your stroke risk, he advises to quit smoking and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

"If we could target the core known risk factors, then coffee is plus or minus at that point," said Dr. Ohanian.

Gracia says she's all for that!

"Probably I can have one at night now," said Gracia.

In a recent study of male smokers, researcher did observe an association between high coffee consumption and a lower stroke risk. Study authors say this is the first study to look at this link in women.

Web Extra Information:

Coffee Consumption and Risk of Stroke in Women:

Esther Lopez-Garcia, PhD; Fernando Rodriguez-Artalejo, MD, PhD; Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD, MPH; Giancarlo Logroscino, MD, PhD; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD; Rob M. van Dam, PhD Background -- Data on the association between coffee consumption and risk of stroke are sparse. We assessed the association between coffee consumption and the risk of stroke over 24 years of follow-up in women.

Methods and Results:

We analyzed data from a prospective cohort of 83 076 women in the Nurses' Health Study withouthistory of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, or cancer at baseline. Coffee consumption was assessed first in 1980 andthen repeatedly every 2 to 4 years, with follow-up through 2004. We documented 2280 strokes, of which 426 were hemorrhagic, 1224 were ischemic, and 630 were undetermined. In multivariable Cox regression models with adjustment for age, smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, menopausal status, hormone replacement therapy, aspirin use, and dietary factors, the relative risks (RRs) of stroke across categories of coffee consumption (_1 cup per month, 1 per month to 4 per week, 5 to 7 per week, 2 to 3 per day, and _4 per day) were 1, 0.98 (95% CI, 0.84 to 1.15), 0.88 (95%CI, 0.77 to 1.02), 0.81 (95% CI, 0.70 to 0.95), and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.98) (P for trend_0.003).

After further adjustment for high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, and Type 2 diabetes, the inverse association remained significant. The association was stronger among never and past smokers (RR for _4 cups a day versus _1 cup a month, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.84) than among current smokers (RR for_4 cups a day versus_1 cup a month, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.48). Other drinks containing caffeine such as tea and caffeinated soft drinks were not associated with stroke. Decaffeinated coffee was associated with a trend toward lower risk of stroke after adjustment for caffeinated coffee consumption (RR for _2 cups a day versus _1 cup a month, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.08; P for trend_0.05).

Conclusions:

Long-term coffee consumption was not associated with an increased risk of stroke in women. In contrast, our data suggest that coffee consumption may modestly reduce risk of stroke. (Circulation. 2009;119:000-000.)

Recent analyses support the hypothesis that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of coronary heart disease. In addition, increasing evidence suggests that coffee consumption may protect against Type 2 diabetes. However, data on the relation between coffee consumption and stroke are sparse. No association has been found between coffee and risk of total stroke among middle-aged healthy men9 and among patients with Type 2 diabetes. By contrast, another study found that consumption of coffee was associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke among hypertensive men. Finally, in a recent study of male smokers, an association between high coffee consumption and a lower risk of stroke was observed. To the best of our knowledge, the association between coffee and stroke among women has not been examined previously.

Clinical Perspective: In this study, we assessed the association between long-term coffee consumption and risk of stroke over 24 years of follow-up in US women. To determine whether caffeine or other components in coffee were responsible for the observed associations, Decaffeinated coffee and other caffeinated beverages also were examined.

Moreover, given that several studies have associated coffee consumption with increased risk of hypertension14 and hypercholesterolemia15,16 but reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes,17 we examined whether the association between coffee consumption and stroke was modified by these vascular risk factors.

Study Population:

We used data from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), the full details of which have been published elsewhere. Briefly, this cohort was established in 1976, and information from the participants has been updated every 2 years. We used 1980 as the baseline because this was the first year in which information on diet was collected. For the present analysis, we excluded participants with a history of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, or cancer at baseline and those with no information about coffee consumption at baseline (n_879), leaving 83 076 women. The Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital Human Subjects Committee Review boards approved the study protocol.


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