Coffee cuts depression risk in women
Drinking coffee may lower women's risk of depression, a new study says.
Women in the study who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over a 10-year period compared to those who drank one cup of coffee or less per week.
The researchers cautioned, however, that the new study only shows an association between coffee consumption and depression risk, and cannot prove that drinking coffee reduces risk of depression in women.
The study, which included more than 50,000 women in the United States, is the largest of its kind, the researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said.
The findings are in line with earlier studies that have found a link between moderate coffee consumption and a reduced risk of suicide.
The new study is just the latest to suggest coffee consumption has health benefits. Earlier work has found an association between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and stroke.
The researchers analyzed surveys of 50,739 U.S. women (average age 63) enrolled in a long-term study known as the Nurses' Health Study. From 1980 through 2004, participants filled out questionnaires about their caffeine consumption, including how often they drank coffee, tea and soda.
Participants were followed from 1996 to 2006 to see whether they were diagnosed with depression. None of the participants had depression at the study's start. Women were considered depressed if they had been given a diagnosis of clinical depression by their physician and they started taking antidepressants.
Over the 10-year period, 2,607 new cases of depression were reported. Women who drank four or more cups of coffee per day were 20 percent less likely to develop depression than those who drank one or fewer cups of coffee per week.
No link was found between consumption of decaffeinated coffee and depression.