Is it Time to Smell the Coffee?
Coffee may reduce risk of stroke by as much as 25%.
It’s hard to walk a city block without passing a coffee shop (or 2, or 3), so it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Over half of American adults partake daily, and more than 500 billion cups are poured around the globe each year.
The more vexing questions revolve around coffee’s health effects. Scientists have posited that a phenol, a compound found in coffee, may have antioxidant properties that can reduce inflammation in the arteries. Naysayers point to the caffeine in coffee as a potential health hazard.
To determine if coffee consumption might have an impact on the risk of having a stroke, researchers analyzed data from 35,000 Swedish women with no prior history of cardiovascular disease. The information was collect collected in 1997 as part of the ongoing Swedish mammography study. At outset of the study, the women were asked to complete a detailed diet and lifestyle questionnaire that included questions on their daily coffee intake. Over the 10 year follow-up period, 1680 strokes were recorded in the study population. Overall, the women who drank one or more cups of coffee daily had a 25% lower risk of having a stroke than did the women who averaged less than a cup a day. This benefit held up even after accounting for other cardiovascular risks factors such as smoking hypertension, body mass index, diabetes and alcohol use.
While the results of this research are intriguing, further studies are needed to explore more closely the relationship between amount of coffee consumed and level of stroke risk. Even so, you can savor your cup of joe tomorrow morning with the added satisfaction that you may be doing something good for your cardiovascular health.
Questions for You to Consider