“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,” says Susanna C. Larsson, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Larsson and her colleagues looked at data on 34, 670 women, who were participating in a mammography study. The women were asked about coffee consumption – overall they averaged three cups of coffee a day. During a followup ten years later, a national hospital discharge registry recorded 1,680 strokes among the women. The researchers found, after adjusting for other stroke factors such as smoking, that women drinking at least one cup of coffee a day were 24% less likely to suffer a stroke. While drinking more coffee was not linked to an even lower stroke risk, the researchers concluded, “the risk appeared to be increased among women with low or no consumption of coffee” compared to daily coffee drinkers.

Larsson and her colleagues suggest that antioxidant polyphenols in coffee may be the reason for an association of coffee drinking and lower likelihood of stroke. The coffee compounds may improve blood vessel function and reduce inflammation. Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory says, “there is a biological plausibility for such an effect, though I feel it is more likely due to the phenolic acids, e.g., chlorogenic acid, than to the polyphenols in the beverage. The fact that other studies have found somewhat similar results provides further confidence in the association.”

In 2010, English scientists reported to the American Stroke Association conference that both men and women who drank a cup of coffee a day were 30% less likely to suffer a stroke over a 12 year period……..    www.tuftshealthletter.com       5/20/13

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