A 10-year study of 50,000 nurses was just completed and the report has good news for women who drink two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily. There is a definite link between such moderate coffee-drinking and a lower risk of depression. In fact, the chances of becoming depressed are 15 percent lower for these women and 20% lower if four cups of coffee are consumed daily. According to writer Rachael Rettner, the study’s findings confirm other studies that found moderate coffee drinking linked with a lower risk of suicide. It appears the caffeine is the important factor here, as those who drank decaf did not show the same lower risk. “Caffeine can make people feel more energized, focused and put them in a better mood in general. ‘This feeling could be reflected in the women’s assessment of their mood symptoms’ ", suggested a professor involved in the study. Out of the 50,000 nurses, by the end of the ten year period, 2607 had been diagnosed as clinically depressed. It’s not known if the general population would have similar results; some similar studies also used nurses as subjects. Another interesting detail showed that caffeinated tea did not show the same link to lower risk. Since 80% of the caffeine consumed daily in the US is in the form of coffee, maybe there weren’t enough tea drinkers to be statistically significant. Even though the research shows a strong correlation between drinking three to four cups of coffee and lower risk of depression, the researchers cautioned several times that nothing has been proven regarding HOW caffeine in coffee might influence mental health. That will take much more research; it’s easier to demonstrate a link than to prove a cause. So until then, the researchers advise that women follow the basic advice for better health in general: Eat a balanced diet, reduce stress and get some good daily exercise. And remember, one of the five basic food groups is coffee! (http://www.roaste.com/CafeRoaste/News/2011/09/18/Coffee-Dairy-Out-Harvar... ) Brew on, happily!
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