I wrote a very popular post last year called The Dark Side of Coffee. As I pointed out then, nearly all research surrounding coffee (more than 20,000 scientific studies) is positive but I wanted to show that even something beneficial can have a down side. But the Jedi inside me has been forcing those dark thoughts aside with new research showing that not only does coffee help sports performance, stave off cancer and diabetes, it’s now looking after my heart.
A 2008 study of more than 26,000 male smokers in Finland found that the men who drank eight or more cups of coffee a day had a 23% lower risk of stroke than the men who drank little or no coffee. And a few other reports suggest the effect applies to healthy nonsmokers too. Researchers at UCLA and USC examined data on coffee consumption and stroke prevalence among more than 9,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. At a 2009 conference, they reported that the likelihood of stroke was highest among people who didn’t drink coffee and lowest among those who drank the most coffee: 5% of people who drank one or two cups a day suffered strokes, whereas 2.9% of people who drank six or more cups suffered strokes.
“Not long ago, researchers thought quite the opposite about coffee and the heart”, says Dr. Thomas Hemmen, director of the UC San Diego Stroke Center: “Coffee is fun and it tastes good, so people assumed for many years that it would be bad for you.”
I’m about to head out climbing I think I’ll pour myself another cup of Good Morning America just to be on the safe side. As old Obi-Wan once said, the force is strong in this one.