Monday, May 22, 2006

Antioxidant-rich coffee may have health benefits

Antioxidant-rich coffee may have health benefits

Last Updated: 2006-05-19 15:23:22 -0400 (Reuters Health)

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Coffee seems to provide more than a quick pick-me-up. A new study suggests that drinking 1 to 3 cups of coffee per day may help protect against cardiovascular disease and other illnesses characterized by inflammation.

"The findings tend to suggest that there may be some benefit to drinking modest amounts of coffee," Dr. David R. Jacobs, Jr., one of the study's investigators, told Reuters Health.

"But I would very much like to see the finding replicated in other studies by other investigators before making a very strong statement in favor of coffee drinking," he cautioned.

Jacobs, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues studied coffee drinking in relation to all deaths and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases related to inflammation in the Iowa Women's Health Study.

Analyses centered on 27,321 women between 55 to 69 years of age when they entered the study and who were followed for 15 years. A total of 4,265 women died during follow up.

There was a "substantial" 24 percent reduction in risk of "inflammatory deaths" among women who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day compared to non-drinkers of coffee, Jacobs reported.

"The risk reduction did not diminish for higher intakes of coffee," he noted. "However, a small risk reduction for cardiovascular disease death in relation to coffee drinking did diminish at higher intake levels; and cancer was not related to coffee consumption."

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

That coffee, by inhibiting inflammation, may protect against cardiovascular and other inflammatory diseases is not all that surprising, Jacobs told Reuters Health.

"We had previously found that coffee is the single most important source of antioxidants in the diets of Norwegians and of middle aged women in Iowa. Oxidative stress is closely related to inflammation. Thus we did expect to see a risk reduction with coffee intake," he explained.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2006

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