Feb 27, 2009
Regular coffee consumption reduces the risk of stroke in women, reports a new study featured on WebMD.com. The study, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a 20% reduced risk of stroke compared to women who had less than one cup per month. Drinking two to three cups per day reduced risk by 19%. Drinking a cup five to seven times a week reduced risk by 12%.
“The beneficial effects of coffee can only be applied to healthy people,” says Esther Lopez-Garcia, lead author of the study and assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain. “Anyone with health problems that can be worsened by coffee (insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, or heart problems) should talk to their doctor about their specific risk.”
The benefits do not appear to come from caffeine. Participants who drank tea and caffeinated soft drinks did not experience the same reduction in stroke risk. “This finding supports the hypothesis that components in coffee other than caffeine may be responsible for the potential beneficial effect of coffee on stroke risk,” Lopez-Garcia says. It could be antioxidants in coffee lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function, reducing the risk of stroke; however, more research is currently under way to prove this theory.