Friday, February 20, 2009
Tea, Coffee may cut stroke risk ..
Patients with existing heart disease or blood pressure problems are unlikely to benefit by drinking more coffee
The odds of having a stroke may be lower for tea drinkers and coffee drinkers.
A study involving more than 80,000 women over a period of more than 20 years showed those who consumed several cups a day were much less likely to suffer a clot on the brain.
The finding came as a surprise to researchers who had originally set out to investigate reports that the beverage increased the risk of a stroke.
In a report on their findings, published in the journal Circulation, they said: "Long-term coffee consumption was not associated with an increased risk of stroke in women. In contrast, it may modestly reduce the risk."
Although the study was carried out in women, it is thought that the benefits would probably apply to men too.
Experts are not sure why coffee has its protective effect but say it could be due to the antioxidant content of the drink.
Researchers stressed that the protective effect of coffee is only found in those who are already relatively healthy.
Patients with existing heart disease or blood pressure problems are unlikely to benefit by drinking more coffee, they said.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) pooled data from 10 studies of clot-related strokes that mentioned tea consumption.
The key finding: Strokes were 21% less common among people from any country who drank three cups of tea per day, whether that tea was green tea or black tea.
Scientists at UCLA and the University of Southern California reviewed national health survey data from nearly 9,400 U.S. adults aged 40 and older.
Participants reported their typical daily coffee consumption and whether a doctor had ever told them that they had had a stroke. Strokes were reported by 5% of the group.
The key finding:
The more cups of coffee participants drank, the less likely they were to report ever being diagnosed with a stroke. For instance, among people who reported drinking one to two cups of coffee per day, 5% reported a history of stroke, compared to 3.5% of people who reported drinking three to five daily cups of coffee and about 3% of people who said they drink six or more cups of coffee per day.
Researchers in Spain found drinking at least two cups of coffee a day for years can lower the risk for stroke. The catch is - you can't have a cigarette with your coffee.
A large, long-term study called the Nurses' Health Study found healthy non-smokers who drank coffee had a 43 percent reduction in stroke risk. Compare that to just a three percent risk reduction in smokers.
Experts think antioxidants found in coffee are key.