Does Caffeine Reduce Depression?

December 13, 2011
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@David Emmite, Getty Images
According to the Huffington Post (HP), a Harvard Nurse’s Health Study that looked at caffeine’s effect on depression in over 50,000 women who worked in healthcare showed that women who consumed two to three cups of caffeinated coffee per day were 15 percent less likely to develop depression compared to those who drank one cup. Women who drank at least four cups per day had a 20 percent lower risk of depression.
There are many possible benefits to caffeine that most people are not familiar with. Dr. Pamela Peeke, writing in the HP reports that:  
  • Caffeine consumption increases physical performance during both short-term and endurance exercise.
  • Caffeine can be found in some yogurt and ice creams.
  • Caffeine is so popular it is considered the most common central nervous system stimulant consumed globally.
     
  • The Mayo Clinic defines moderate caffeine consumption for most healthy adults as 200 to 300 milligrams — the amount in about two to four cups of brewed coffee a day.
     
  • Caffeine releases glucose into the blood stream, so you have extra fuel. A 2010 study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that athletes who consumed both healthy carbs and caffeine had nearly 70 percent more glucose fuel in their bodies than those who only consumed carbs.
     
  • Caffeine causes the brain to produce higher levels of dopamine, the brain chemical that floods us with a sense of pleasure.

So check with your doctor to see if your caffeine habit is healthy or if you should consider starting one!

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