March 11, 2011

Drinking Coffee Could Lower Stroke Risk For Women

Drinking at least one cup of coffee per day could reduce a woman's risk of stroke by as much as 25%, claims a new study published online Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Dr. Susanna Larsson, a researcher in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues studied more than 34,000 women between the ages of 49 and 83, following them for an average period of 10.4 years.

According to Jamie Stengel of the Associated Press, each of the participants was asked about their coffee-drinking habits at the start of the study. Their hospital records were later checked to find out how many had suffered a stroke. A total of 1,680 had suffered a stroke, including 205 who did not drink coffee or consumed less than a full cup's worth each day.

The researchers report that groups that drank between 1-2 cups per day, 3-4 cups per day, or 5 or more cups per day all had similar results--a 22% to 25% lower risk of stroke than those consuming less than one cup per day, according to a March 10 American Heart Association press release.

Smoking status, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors did not affect the results, they claim.

"Coffee drinkers should rejoice," Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, told AP Reporter Jamie Stengle on Thursday.

"Coffee is often made out to be potentially bad for your heart. There really hasn't been any study that convincingly said coffee is bad," she added. "If you are drinking coffee now, you may be doing some good and you are likely not doing harm."

However, as Stengle points out, "Hayes and other doctors say the study shouldn't send non-coffee drinkers running to their local coffee shop. The study doesn't prove that coffee lowers stroke risk, only that coffee drinkers tend to have a lower stroke risk."


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