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Coffee helps lower depression risk

Two or more cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of depression, researchers suggest.

The study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, claims further investigation is required to better understand the link between caffeine and depression.

A team of researchers at the Harvard Medical School followed over 50,000 women for over a decade to measure their health and caffeine consumption.

During the testing period, 2607 women developed depression - the majority of whom were infrequent coffee drinkers.

The study found those women who consumed two or three cups of coffee per day reduced their risk of developing depression by 15% when compared with women who drank one cup of coffee or fewer per week.

Those who drank four or more cups a day cut their risk by 20%.

Professor Bertil Fredholm from Sweden's Karolinska Institute told the BBC the findings were reassuring for coffee lovers.

"This fits nicely with a lot of the previous work and what we know about caffeine and the brain. It blocks adenosine, which produces a similar effect to increasing dopamine production. And it's becoming increasingly clear that the dopamine-rich areas of the brain are much more important in depression that previously thought.

"Despite valiant efforts to show how dangerous coffee is for us, it is not proving so.

"This removes yet another anxiety regarding caffeine use. Drunk in moderation, the evidence is strong that it is not one of the things we do that is going to damage your health."

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I would like more background information on this research. Do the results apply only to freshly brewed 'real' coffee or also to instant? The diuretic effects of drinking caffeine need to be considered. All things in moderation seems to be the way to go here" - Melanie Wills, Hertfordshire