Drinking more coffee may help women to avoid stroke

May 1, 2011

In addition to possibly decreasing the risk for diabetes and liver cancer, drinking 1 or more cups of coffee per day may lower a woman's risk for stroke by as much as 25%.

In addition to possibly decreasing the risks for diabetes and liver cancer, drinking 1 or more cups of coffee per day may lower a woman's risk for stroke by as much as 25%, according to the findings of a prospective study from Sweden.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm included 34,670 women (ages 49 to 83 years) without a history of cardiovascular disease or cancer who were participating in the Swedish Mammography Cohort, an epidemiologic study looking at links among diet, lifestyle, and disease development. They assessed coffee consumption using a self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire made no distinction between caffeinated and decaffeinated cups of coffee, but the researchers noted that decaffeinated consumption of coffee in Sweden is low.

At 10-year follow-up, and after adjusting for risk factors, researchers found that coffee consumption-from 1 to more than 5 cups per day-significantly lowered the risks for total stroke, cerebral infarction, and subarachnoid hemorrhage but not the risk for intracerebral hemorrhage. No dose-response relationship was found. The multivariable relative risks (RR) for total stroke among coffee drinkers across all categories of coffee consumption compared with those who drank less than 1 cup of coffee per day were: less than 1 cup per day, 1.00; 1 to 2 cups per day, 0.78 (95% CI, 0.66 to 0.91); 3 to 4 cups per day, 0.75 (95% CI, 0.64 to 0.88); and 5 or more cups per day, 0.77 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.92); (P trend =0.02).

The authors of the study postulate that coffee drinking reduces the risk for stroke by weakening subclinical inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, and improving insulin sensitivity.

Larsson SC, Virtamo J, Wolk A. Coffee consumption and risk of stroke in women. Stroke. 2011;42(4):908-912.