Coffee Can Prevent Depression
Research shows regular consumption of coffee protects women from depression. So drink up and celebrate. Thursday's National Coffee Day -- and some stores are offering a free cup of joe. Photographer: REUTERS/Morris

Good news for coffee drinkers! Regular consumption of two or more cups helps women lower the risk of developing depression, researchers at Harvard University say.

The study analyzed data from 50,000 U.S. female nurses for 10 years and discovered that 2,600 women who drank little or no coffee developed depression, but for those who consumed two to three cups a day, the risk from depression decreased by 15 percent. The incidence fell by 20 percent for women who consumed four or more cups.

The only catch in the research is that the findings apply only to post-menopausal women.

The research was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study is the first attempt to analyze the relation between coffee and depression. It is believed that caffeine stimulation boosts and uplifts the mood.

Researchers said coffee does not work as a medicine to reduce depression but rather provides protective effects to regular drinkers.

Earlier, numerous studies established that moderate consumption of coffee had a benevolent impact on health, from dementia to heart problems, suicide to various forms of cancer. But too much consumption of coffee can also cause sleeplessness, anxiety, increased heartbeat and stomach upset.

Depression is a chronic disease that affects women more than men. According to research, almost 20 percent women worldwide suffer from depression at some point.

Regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing depression than nondrinkers, said Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the study. But he noted, these are preliminary results that need to be confirmed.