Add cream, sugar and a lower risk of stroke to your coffee

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It turns out that a morning cup of joe may not only put a pep in your step, but it may also reduce your risk of stroke, according to a new study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. After following 34,670 women between the ages of 49 and 83 in the Swedish Mammography Cohort for an average of 10.4 years, researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that women who drink more than one cup of coffee a day had about a one-fourth lower risk of stroke compared to those who drank less java. Indeed, low or no coffee consumption was actually associated with an increased stroke risk while those who drank anywhere from one to five or more cups of coffee a day demonstrated similar health benefits, even after controlling for smoking status, body mass index, diabetes history, hypertension and alcohol consumption.

At the onset of the study, women had no cardiovascular disease or cancer diagnosis and were asked to complete a food frequency questionnaire, which made no distinction between regular and decaffeinated coffee. Results indicate that coffee intake is associated with a statistically significant decrease in stroke risk, which the authors theorize may be due to coffee s ability to reduce subclinical inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and improve insulin sensitivity.

ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom is intrigued by the results and is curious to know which active ingredient in coffee is responsible for the lower incidence of stroke. There are many chemical compounds in coffee, so it might be difficult to sort out where the effect is coming from. It is probably not simply from caffeine, since it would be hard to imagine caffeine having the multiple effects suggested above.