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Attention Ladies! Do you Love Coffee? — an article on the Smart Living Network
February 15, 2009 at 3:23 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Attention Ladies! Do you Love Coffee?


Do you have trouble saying "no" to that second, third, or sixth cup of coffee each day? If so, you probably have at least one person nagging at you to cut back. To a certain extent, they're right. However, a newly released study has provided some insight that might help to alleviate any guilt or pressure you may be feeling. In 1980, the Nurses' Health Study began tracking the health, coffee consumption, and stroke occurrence of 83,076 women. None of the participants had a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Every two to four years, for 24 years, the women's health and coffee consumption were assessed, and 2,280 strokes were documented. The collected data was analyzed by Spanish and U.S. researchers, whom were lead by Dr. Esther Lopez-Garcia of the School of Medicine, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain. Their findings were published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The goal of the analysis was to determine how coffee affected a woman's risk of stroke. The results, comparing women who drank coffee regularly compared with women who drank it less than once a month, indicated:

  • Four or more cups daily reduced stroke risk by 20%
  • Two or three cups daily reduced stroke risk by 19%
  • Five to seven cups weekly reduced stroke risk by 12%

Even women with high blood pressure or cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes experienced some reduction in stroke risk, although not as much as women without those conditions. The numbers change drastically for women who smoke. In comparing smokers to non-smokers, the results indicated:

  • Non-smokers drinking four or more cups a day reduced stroke risk by 43%
  • Smokers drinking four or more cups a day reduced stroke risk by 3%

"The potential benefits of coffee cannot counterbalance the detrimental effects smoking has on health," Lopez-Garcia explained. The supposed link between coffee consumption and stroke risk should not be taken as encouragement to drink unlimited amounts of coffee. Other health issues such as anxiety, heart problems, insomnia, and hypertension can cancel out its anti-stroke benefits, while maximizing its negative effects. Remember, no matter who you are, coffee is known to:

  • Contain carcinogens as a result of high heat roasting
  • Irritate the stomach lining, which can lead to digestive problems
  • Decrease sleep quality
  • Be a heavily pesticide-sprayed crop
  • Contain vitamin K, which can affect blood coagulability
  • Hinder nutrient absorption

Caffeine can:

  • Complicate blood sugar control for diabetics
  • Leach calcium from the bones, aggravating osteoporosis
  • Aggravate stress
  • Become an addiction

Caffeine does not appear to be the coffee ingredient that reduces stroke risk, according to the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid analysis. Study participants who drank caffeinated tea or soda did not display the same risk reductions as those who drank coffee. "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 said. For healthy women, moderate coffee consumption, spread evenly over the morning and afternoon, is the best way to reap health rewards and minimize unpleasant effects. If you feel you have become too dependant on caffeine, try to wean yourself off slowly, and then make the switch to tea.

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