Happy National Coffee Day! Yes, there is such a thing, which I discovered early this morning as I found myself in the Starbucks drive-thru. We have quite the coffee culture here at Amoena so today had us celebrating.
National Coffee Day was first mentioned in 2005 – likely in an attempt to sell more coffee – and coincidentally, a recent study published this week shows that a rise in coffee intake may lower depression in women. So perhaps changing that Tall into a Grande (or Trenta?) may not be so bad after all.
First, a lesson in coffee history: According to legend, an Arabian shepherd named Kaldi found his goats became hyperactive after eating the bright red cherries on a dark green leafed shrub. He suspected that the bright red cherries were the cause of a particular euphoria in the goats and decided to try them himself. The stimulating effect was then exploited by monks at a local monastery to stay awake during extended hours of prayer and distributed to other monasteries around the world. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, coffee plays a big part in our daily lives. Companies like Starbucks initiated the “meet me for coffee” trend and others have followed suit by offering their own premium coffees and coffee drinks like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme and even QuikTrip. But has all this coffee really helped women avoid depression?
According to a study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine this week, women who drink caffeinated coffee are less likely to become depressed and the risk went down with each cup they drank.
The study included more than 50,000 women between the ages of 30 and 55 who were regularly surveyed about their coffee consumption, health and lifestyle. At the start of the study, none of the women reported having depression symptoms (nor had a family history of depression) and over the next 10 years about 5% of the women were diagnosed with depression. Researchers found that drinking four cups of coffee a day helped to reduce this group’s risk of depression by 20% compared to women who drank little or no caffeinated coffee.
In a CNN.com article about the subject, researchers say the reasons they saw the risk lowered is not clear but could include:
- The antioxidants in coffee may have these specific health benefits but even women who drank only decaf were no more or less likely to become depressed than the women who drank no coffee at all.
- The caffeine might be responsible but there was not enough data available to determine if drinking caffeinated soda or tea would have the same effect. 82% of the women studied drank caffeinated coffee, while 16% drank caffeinated sodas and/or teas.
- Some psychologists have even suggested that women who aren’t depressed may enjoy drinking coffee more than those with depression symptoms. The social aspect of the coffee-culture may fit in better with their lifestyle.
Of course, caffeine can be hurtful for some people and can have effects similar to an addictive drug, so one should consider how they react to caffeine before diving into a big cup of joe. Not to mention if your dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, surviving cancer or just living a life of wellness, you should discuss your caffeine intake with your physician.
Although we shouldn’t take this study lightly, having that second coffee break could be just the thing we need to celebrate our most favorite historical beverage – especially on National Coffee Day.
All this coffee talk is making me think it’s time for a Starbuck’s run! Write us a blog comment sharing your personal favorite Starbucks coffee order (or any other coffee-house order) and we’ll send the first 10 commenters a $15 Starbucks gift card. Mine? A tall, skinny latte…no foam.