March 17, 2011

Drinking Coffee Reduces Stroke Risk in Women

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Now a new study shows drinking up is good for you. The study found drinking more than one cup of coffee a day was associated with a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke, compared with those who drank less.

"Therefore, even small health effects of substances in coffee may have large public health consequences," Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, was quoted as saying.

Groups who reported drinking 1-2 cups per day, 3-4 cups per day or 5 or more cups per day had similar benefits compared with those who reported daily intake of less than a cup of coffee.

"Our research group has previously observed an inverse association between coffee consumption and risk in Finnish male smokers," Larsson said. "We wanted to assess the situation in women."

After adjustment for other risk factors, coffee consumption was associated with a statistically significant lower risk of total stroke, cerebral infarction and subarachnoid hemorrhage, Larsson said.

The food frequency questionnaire made no distinction between regular and decaffeinated coffee but decaffeinated coffee consumption in the Swedish population is low, Larsson said.

Potential ways that coffee drinking might reduce the risk of stroke include weakening subclinical inflammation, reducing oxidative stress and improving insulin sensitivity, she said.

"Some women have avoided consuming coffee because they have thought it is unhealthy. In fact, increasing evidence indicates that moderate coffee consumption may decrease the risk of some diseases such as diabetes, liver cancer and possibly stroke," Larsson said.

SOURCE: Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, published online March 10, 2011