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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 09/26/2011

Coffee cuts women’s depression risk

Here’s some good news I came across while drinking my third cup of coffee today: A big new study shows that the more coffee women drink, the lower their risk of depression.

Published Monday afternoon in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the study is the first major one to examine the link between women’s coffee consumption and depression. One earlier, much smaller study, the paper notes, had found male coffee drinkers had reduced risk of depression.

The analysis of data for nearly 51,000 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study over more than 20 years found a “dose-dependent” relationship between women’s consumption of caffeinated coffee and depression. The women who drank the most coffee had the lowest risk of depression compared to those who drank the least, cup for cup. Compared to women who drank a single cup a week, those who drank two to three cups per day had a 15 percent smaller risk of depression, and those who downed four cups or more per day had a 20 percent decrease in that risk.

No such association was found for decaffeinated coffee or for caffeine-containing tea, soft drinks or chocolate.

An editor’s note accompanying the study reminds us that the research doesn’t establish a cause-and-effect relationship, so more research is needed before health-care professionals can confidently recommend consuming coffee to ward off depression. Still, the editorial notes, the results of this study and other research into coffee’s potential effects on our health, together suggest that “there seem to exist no glaringly deleterious health consequences to coffee consumption.”

By  |  04:00 PM ET, 09/26/2011

 
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