If you’re female and can't start the day without a jolt of java, take heart, you may be lowering your risk of stroke. That’s what Swedish researchers found after following almost 35,000 women ages 49 to 83, for about 10 years. At the outset, they asked the women how much coffee they drank and then followed up over the years by checking hospital records to see how many of the women had strokes. After adjusting for such risk factors as smoking, weight, high blood pressure and diabetes, the investigators observed a 22 to 25 percent lower risk of stroke in the coffee drinkers compared to the women who drank less than a cup per day or none at all. While this doesn't prove that coffee itself lowers the risk of stroke, the Swedish researchers suggested that the antioxidants in coffee might be responsible for the lower stroke risk they found, or that coffee could be protective by reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity. They added that more research remains to be done before advising women to change their coffee-drinking habits. The study was published online on March 10, 2011, by the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
If you do drink coffee, be sure to stay well hydrated, as it is a diuretic.