Coffee may prevent depression, scientists say
Women who drink two or more cups of coffee a day are less likely to get depressed, research suggests.
It is not clear why it might have this effect, but the authors believe caffeine in coffee may alter the brain’s chemistry. Decaffeinated coffee did not have the same effect.
The findings, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, come from a study of more than 50,000 US female nurses.
The experts are now recommending more work to better understand the link.
And they say it is certainly too soon to start recommending that women should drink more coffee to boost mood.
The Harvard Medical School team tracked the health of the women over a decade from 1996 to 2006 and relied on questionnaires to record their coffee consumption.
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Just over 2,600 of the women developed depression over this time period.
More of these women tended to be non- or low-coffee drinkers rather than frequent coffee consumers.
Compared with women who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee or less per week, those who consumed two to three cups per day had a 15% decreased risk of developing depression.
Those who drank four or more cups a day cut their risk by 20%.
Regular coffee drinkers were more likely to smoke and drink alcohol and were less likely to be involved in church, volunteer or community groups. They were also less likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure or diabetes.