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article imageStudy: Coffee may prevent depression in women

By Kev Hedges     Sep 27, 2011 in Food
Research has suggested drinking two cups of coffee every day may help lower the risk of depression for women. It is the caffeine in the popular beverage that is said to be the active ingredient.
The authors of the study at the Harvard Medical School are not sure why caffeine would have this effect but results do seem to point towards an altering in the brain's chemistry for caffeine consumers. Women who consumed around two to three cups of coffee a day had about a 15 percent lower risk of developing depression during a 10-year period than women who had only one cup of coffee or less per week, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The findings come from a study involving as many as 50,000 female nurses in the US. It has called for experts to demand an increase in study and work connecting depression and caffeine.
The medical school in Harvard used a decade long period between 1996 and 2006 using a series of questionnaires which asked the levels of their coffee consumption. Just over 2,600 of the women surveyed developed depression over this time period. Most of these tended to be low consumers of coffee rather than frequent consumers. Those who drank four or more cups of coffee a day cut their risk by as much as 20 percent.
The British Coffee Association has long touted the health benefits of consuming coffee. Previous studies have also revealed coffee drinkers tend to have a lower suicide rate than non-caffeine consumers and researchers now say its findings add weight to these earlier results.
Caffeine tends to lead to a physical effect on brain function by blocking certain chemical receptors, like adenosine. However too much coffee can cause an increase in anxiety.
Caffeine is not only found in our daily mug of coffee - a mug of tea contains around 75g and a can of cola has 40mg and even a small bar of chocolate contains around 25mg.
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