Posted by Margie King
Is your world completely unbearable until you’ve had that first cup of coffee in the morning? Do you need a java jolt just to deal with your day?
You may actually need that caffeine to ward off the blues. Researchers from Harvard University are now acknowledging that the risk of depression appears to decrease for women who drink more caffeinated coffee.
According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, caffeine is the most frequently used central nervous system stimulant in the world, and approximately 80 percent of consumption is in the form of coffee.
Depression is a chronic and recurrent condition that affects twice as many women as men, including approximately one of every five U.S. women during their lifetime.
Previous research, including one prospective study among men, has suggested an association between coffee consumption and depression risk.
Michel Lucas, Ph.D., R.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health, and his colleagues were curious about whether consumption of caffeine in coffee or other caffeinated beverages is associated with the risk of depression in women. They studied 50,739 U.S. women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. Participants, who had an average age of 63 and no depression at the start of the study, were followed for 10 years.
Researchers examined how frequently the women consumed caffeinated and non-caffeinated coffee, non-herbal tea, caffeinated soft drinks (sugared or low-calorie colas), caffeine-free soft drinks (sugared or low-calorie caffeine-free colas or other carbonated beverages) and chocolate.
How much coffee should you drink?
When compared with women who consumed one cup of caffeinated coffee or less per week, those who consumed two to three cups per day had a 15 percent decrease in relative risk for depression, and those consuming four cups or more per day had a 20 percent decrease in relative risk. Compared with women in the lowest categories of caffeine consumption (less than 100 milligrams per day), those in the highest category (550 mg per day or more) had a 20 percent decrease in relative risk of depression.
No association was found between intake of decaffeinated coffee and depression risk.
The authors concluded that the risk of depression decreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee. They noted that this study “cannot prove that caffeine or caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of depression but only suggests the possibility of such a protective effect.”
Coffee and caffeine have also been shown to have possible benefits in decreasing the risks or symptoms of other medical conditions, including:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Skin cancer
- Prostate cancer
What’s your take on caffeine? Many health conscious people avoid it altogether. Others believe in using it in moderation. Some people are very sensitive to it, others not all.
Are you caffeine-free or a complete addict? Please leave a comment and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.