Good news for coffee drinkers!
A new study found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee a day have a 15% lower risk of developing depression than women who drank one cup or less per week. And if you upped your coffee consumption to four or more cups, you’d have a 20% lower risk (maybe because you’d be too high strung to notice?).
Harvard researchers studied 50,000 nurses (average age 63) over a fourteen year period. Although the study focused on coffee, researches say they found similar positive results when they studied other beverage and food items that contained caffeine like soft drinks and chocolate.
Reuters reports that researchers may have found other helpful uses for coffee:
Alberto Ascherio [of the Harvard School of Public Health] said there have been very few studies that look at the long-term effects of coffee consumption. One smaller study in Finland showed men who drank a lot of coffee were less likely to commit suicide.
And Ascherio’s own team has shown that drinking a lot of coffee may be protective against Parkinson’s disease in both men and women.
He said it is not yet clear how coffee might protect against depression, but there are some hints.
Animal studies have shown that caffeine protects against certain neurotoxins. And brain receptors that respond to caffeine are concentrated in the basal ganglia, an area that is important for both depression and Parkinson’s disease.
So, does drinking coffee mean people who suffer from depression can ditch their meds? Not hardly. Although the research suggest coffee may protect against the risk of the disease, it doesn’t treat depression itself.