Drinking coffee may lower women's risk of depression, a new study says.
Women in the study who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression over a 10-year period compared to those who drank one cup of coffee or less per week.
The researchers cautioned, however, that the new study only shows an association between coffee consumption and depression risk, and cannot prove that drinking coffee reduces the risk of depression in women.
The study, which included more than 50,000 women in the United States, is the largest of its kind, the researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said.
The findings are in line with earlier studies that have found a link between moderate coffee consumption and a reduced risk of suicide.
The new study is just the latest to suggest coffee consumption has health benefits. Earlier work has found an association between drinking coffee and a reduced risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer, and stroke.
"Taken together, these results reassure coffee drinkers that there seem to exist no glaringly deleterious health consequences to coffee consumption," Dr. Seth Berkowitz, wrote in an editor's note accompanying the new study.
Because the study only shows a correlation between coffee and the risk of depression, it's too soon for doctors to recommend coffee consumption to patients, Berkowitz said.
The study is published in the Sept. 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.