Friday, March 18, 2011

Coffee Consumption Lowers Stroke Risk by 25 Percent

(Article first published as Coffee Consumption Lowers Stroke Risk by 25 Percent on Technorati.)
A study following nearly 35,000 Swedish women for a period of 10 years provides evidence that one to two cups of coffee a day can lower the incidence of deadly stroke by nearly 25%. Publishing in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, researchers found the women aged 49 to 83 experienced significantly lower stroke risk when consuming the equivalent of two cups of java each day. Coffee consumed without cream and sweeteners is shown to reduce damaging systemic inflammation, lower oxidative stress and improve insulin sensitivity.

Two Cups of Coffee Each Day Found to Dramatically Lower Stroke Risk
Researchers from the Division of Nutritional Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute`s National Institute of Environmental Medicine examined the diet and lifestyle of the female study participants using standardized questionnaires to assess and cross reference disease development over the decade-long period. The women experienced 1,750 stroke events over the 10-year cycle. They found that participants consuming one to two cups of coffee each day were 22 to 25% less likely to suffer from any type of stroke compared to those women drinking none or less than a cup.

Although the study did not examine if there was a different risk association between decaffeinated and regular forms of coffee, the authors did note that decaffeinated coffee consumption is uncommon in Sweden where the study was conducted. The exact mechanism responsible for the stroke risk reduction was not identified. Scientists detected lower measurements of inflammation and oxidative stress in the coffee drinking group that are known to reduce risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease and believed to provide the stroke-lowering effect.

Coffee Shown to Lower Inflammation and Cellular Oxidative Stress
The lead researcher, Dr. Susanna Larsson remarked "Some women have avoided consuming coffee because they have thought it is unhealthy," she added. "In fact, increasing evidence indicates that moderate coffee consumption may decrease the risk of some diseases such as diabetes, liver cancer and possibly stroke." Prior research has demonstrated a positive correlation between coffee consumption in male smokers, and this study was conducted to demonstrate that coffee provides health benefits to women as well.

Coffee has been maligned in the past, largely based on its high caffeine concentration and association as a high calorie pick me up fashioned at many high-end restaurants and coffee shops. After a strenuous review of the data from this study, the authors concluded "Given that coffee is one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide, even small health effects of substances in coffee may have large public health consequences." Most people will want to drink one to two cups of black coffee daily to dramatically lower the risk from a devastating stroke.

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