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You may have seen the newest information on coffee on the news in the past week – that drinking coffee may actually cut the depression risk for women. I admit I received health email updates on it and even got a message from my favorite local coffee shop promoting the benefit. So I thought others might be like me and wondering if this was something that can be trusted, or just the latest quack thing, so here is what I found.

The research was done by Harvard University on over 50,000 women as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, which is one of the largest health studies done on women in the United States. The results showed that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day showed a 15% lower risk of depression, and those who drank four cups per day had a 20% lower risk. Keep in mind that this study should be replicated before we truly advocate the coffee consumption and depression link, but if you are already a coffee drinker – this may be a positive piece.

Other studies have also shown a link between the consumption of coffee and other positives in our health such as:

  • A reduced risk for type 2 diabetes with drinking caffeinated coffee.
  • A lower risk of prostate cancer and the most deadly type of prostate cancer for men who drank higher amounts of coffee.
  • A reduced risk of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer among those who were regular coffee consumers.
  • A lower risk of Parkinson ’s disease with higher consumption of coffee.

So what are the possible negatives for coffee and your health? Most of the research I found was linked to caffeine and a negative health consequence, not precisely coffee consumption. There is research linking caffeine and gout attacks, as well as heart burn. And the obvious link between caffeine and insomnia. Remember that caffeine from a cup of joe can stay in your system for up to 6 hours, so you probably want to switch to decaffeinated or avoid it all together after about 5:00 PM. There is also a great deal of
research linking larger caffeine consumption and pregnancy issues – so discuss this with your health professional.

My conclusion after looking at the new research and coffee consumption was that it does have some positive effects and a couple cups, earlier in the day could provide some health benefits.

Sources:

Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/

Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/

JNCI, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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