Researchers say women can cut their chances of having an ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke up to twenty-five percent by drinking one cup of coffee a day, regardless of other risk factors. The findings should ease worries about indulging in the brew.
Researchers at in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden followed women for 10 years, observing that women who reporting consuming at least one cup of decaf or caffeinated coffee daily were 22 to 25 percent less likely to suffer stroke compared to non-coffee drinkers.
Coffee lowers chances of stroke in women regardless of other health risks
In the study, the researchers found a woman's stroke risk was lower from drinking 1 to 5 cups of coffee a day regardless of other health risk factors. The reduced risk was the same, regardless of body mass index, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and alcohol consumption.
The scientists followed 34,670 women ages 49 to 83 for 10.4 years who were part of the Swedish Mammography Cohort study designed to monitor diet lifestyle and disease risk.
Women in the study were asked to submit food frequency questionnaires that the scientists used to compared number of strokes, comparing women's health outcomes who drink coffee to those who drank less than one cup a day.
Susanna Larsson, Ph.D., lead study author and researcher in the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute, "Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. "Therefore, even small health effects of substances in coffee may have large public health consequences."
The researchers conducted the study to find out if coffee really does have cardiovascular health benefits that have been inconclusive from past investigation.
"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."
Though the study showed stroke chances are lower for women who enjoy at least one cup of coffee a day, the scientists say more studies are needed before any firm conclusions can be made. It may be the brew lowers inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity, accounting for the cardiovascular protection.
The researchers note some women have avoided consuming coffee over concerns about adverse health effects. They say now there is increasing evidence that moderate consumption might even lower the chances of diabetes, liver cancer and stroke, found in the new analysis.