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Coffee May Help Women With Depression

September 26, 2011, 5:12 PM by Nicole Winters

Coffee May Help Women With Depression
That cup of morning joe may be providing more than just a pick-me-up.

A new study finds the risk of depression appears to decrease for women who increase the amount of caffeinated coffee they drink.

If you're a woman, starting your morning off with a kick from caffeinated coffee could help you carry a sunnier disposition throughout your day.

"They found that those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had 15 percent chance less of being diagnosed with depression and those who drank four or five, 20 percent less. That's a pretty big difference. Something important is going on," Psychologist Dr. Michael McKee said.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied nearly 51,000 women. Their coffee consumption was tracked all the way back to 1980 and their risk for depression monitored from 1996 to 2006.

"Caffeine is a stimulant. It helps prevent depression. Many of the early anti-depressants were central nervous system stimulants, amphetamines," McKee said.

When compared to women who drank one cup of caffeinated coffee or less per week, those who drank two to three cups per day actually had a 15 percent decrease in their risk for depression. Drinking four or more cups per day decreased the risk by 20 percent. Researchers are quick to add that while the results don't prove that caffeinated coffee reduces the risk of depression, it may offer a protective effect. McKee says to talk to your doctor if you think it might help.

"It may be that people who drink coffee are more active, exercise more, do other healthy things. But there was a big difference. And this is a big study. 50,000 women they followed over a long period of time," McKee said.

The study appears in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

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