For women who reach for a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, there is good news. Women who wake up with a cup of coffee may be lowering their risk of stroke by 24%.
A Swedish study followed almost 35,000 women for over 10 years. They found that stroke risk was lowered when people consumed at least one cup of coffee per day. Interestingly, however, there doesn't seem to be dose response - that is to say, in terms of effects on stroke risk, one cup a day is as good as 5 or more cups a day.
The researchers think that coffee's effect may come from natural chemicals found in coffee, called antioxidant polyphenols, which may reduce inflammation, improve insulin sensitivity and help veins function better.
I probably wouldn't recommend that anyone increase coffee consumption dramatically based on the results of this study, but enjoying at least a cup a day seems like a guilt-free pleasure that might be part of a healthy lifestyle. However, this refers to coffee itself - NOT a huge latte loaded with milk, sugary syrup and whipped cream, which is more of a (very) occasional treat.
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