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Studies Show Coffee Drinkers Get Health Perks

Mar 15, 2011 – 5:15 AM
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Coffee lovers have a reason to celebrate.

Recent studies have shown that rather than being harmful, coffee actually provides a variety of health benefits.

Coffee Drinkers Get Health Perks
Alamy
Drink up! A recent study shows that women who drink at least one cup of coffee a day have a lower risk of stroke than women who drank less or none.
In a study published last week in Stroke: the Journal of the American Heart Association, Swedish researchers followed the health habits of nearly 35,000 women ages 49 to 83 for 10 years. They discovered that the women who drank at least one cup of coffee per day had a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke than those who drank less or none at all.

"The risk [of stroke] appeared to be increased among women with low or no coffee consumption," the Swedish study team noted.

The Swedish study is the latest in a series of studies over the past few years that have revealed that not only is drinking coffee not harmful but that it may be good for your health.

In another well-known study, Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, and his team of investigators on the Harvard Nurses' Health Study discovered a link between coffee consumption and lower diabetes risk.

"I think it's actually more healthful than tea," Dr. Hu recently told the Boston Globe.

Additional recent studies have found that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of gallstones, liver disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and certain cancers. If you're a long-distance runner, you might consider having a cup of joe before a big race, as coffee has also been shown to increase a runner's endurance.

Exactly how coffee provides these benefits is still a mystery that researchers are trying to solve. Swedish researchers in last week's published stroke study theorize that coffee reduces inflammation and improves insulin resistance -- both risk factors of stroke. The high content of powerful disease-fighting antioxidants in coffee may also be what provides such a wide array of health benefits.

"Coffee drinkers should rejoice," Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told The Associated Press.

"There really hasn't been any study that convincingly said coffee is bad. If you are drinking coffee now, you may be doing some good, and you are likely not doing harm."

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