Boston/Berlin: Women who enjoy drinking coffee may be lowering their risk of suffering a stroke, a new study suggests.
Women who drank five to seven cups of coffee a week were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke than were those who downed just one cup a month, the study among 83,000 American women revealed.
The survey was carried out over a 24-year period by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the findings published in the March issue of the journal Circulation.
According to the German experts on stroke prevention in Berlin, the benefit does not appear to come from caffeine. Those who drank tea and other caffeinated drinks did not experience the same reduction in stroke risk, said Martin Grond of the German Stroke Society.
It seems the positive health effects of coffee-drinking come from antioxidants in the beverage, which lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function.
Taking into consideration factors such as cigarette and alcohol consumption, researchers found that healthy women who drank two to three cups of normal caffeinated coffee a day had, on average, a 19 percent lower risk for any kind of stroke than did women who drank less than one cup a month. Drinking four or more cups a day lowered the risk by 20 percent.
At the same time, the study confirmed that the beneficial effects of coffee only apply to otherwise healthy people. Those with complaints such insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac complications should be aware that coffee consumption was likely to worsen their condition, said Grond.