Drinking coffee has become an American tradition. The stimulant gets you going in the morning, keeps you alert and sets a good mood for the day. An 8-ounce cup of home-brewed coffee contains on average 100 mg of caffeine, but purchased coffee varies wildly in size and amount of caffeine. The coffee connection can benefit women’s health.
Coffee Reduces Risk of Women’s Memory Decline
Reported in the August 7, 2007 issue of Neurology, a 4-year French research study of 7000 men and women over 65 surveyed the effects of drinking caffeine coffee (or the equivalent caffeine in tea). No adult had dementia at the study’s start.
The research found that women – but not men – who drank 4 cups of coffee or more had a 30% lowered risk of developing memory decline compared to those who drank one cup or less. Those women monitored to 80 years of age, showed a huge 70% less likely chance of having memory decline.
Coffee Added to Women’s Stroke Prevention List
The majority of strokes (over 85%) happen when a clot or plaque blocks the flow of blood to the brain. This brain attack, called an ischemic stroke, includes these symptoms: severe headache, numbness on one side, trouble seeing or speaking, dizziness and confusion. Often the symptoms clear up on their own, but these mini-strokes still require an immediate 911 call (emergency rooms have clot-busting drugs). Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability.
A 24-year study reported in the February 2009 issue of the journal Circulation, found that drinking caffeine coffee diminished the risk of stroke for women. The study followed approximately 83,000 female nurses. For non-smokers (only), those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee lowered the risk of stroke by 43% compared to those who drank no coffee.
The key point here is that coffee lessened the stroke risk over time. Of course, stroke prevention requires that you eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, not be overweight, and be a non-smoker. Stroke problems can begin with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so make sure you and your physician know your numbers.
Coffee Decreases Menace of Women’s Gallstones
The gallbladder is part of the digestive system that receives and holds the digestive juice bile from the liver. Bile is secreted into the small intestine and breaks down fats. If an individual has too much cholesterol in the bile–from eating a high-fat, low-fiber diet – painful gallstones can form. Women are twice as likely as men to have gallstones, and other risk factors include over age 60, obesity and heredity.
In research reported in the December 2002 issue of Gastroenterology, about 80,000 women who drank 2 to 3 cups of caffeine coffee had a 22% lower risk of gallbladder-removal surgery than those women drinking no coffee. Those drinking 4 cups of coffee had a 28% reduced risk. The study lasted for 20 years, the women were aged 34 to 59 and had no previous gallstone problem.
Drinking Coffee is a Good Custom
Besides decreasing women’s threat of memory decline, stroke and gallstones, other research has found that regular or even decaf coffee helps with the perils of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. However, coffee alone is no substitute for a healthy lifestyle with nutritious eating and plenty of exercise. Caffeine can affect some individuals with nervousness, sleeplessness and intestinal distress.
This is an educational article only. Caffeine coffee is questionable for pregnant women and the migraine-afflicted. Seek your health care provider for advice.