A new study has suggested that drinking coffee could lower women's risk of suffering a stroke.
The study of 83,000 women, conducted over a 24-year period by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, revealed that women who drank five to seven cups of coffee a week were 12 per cent less likely to have a stroke than were those who downed just one cup a month.
However, German experts on stroke prevention in Berlin say that the benefit does not appear to come from caffeine, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Professor Martin Grond of the German Stroke Society said that those who drank tea and other caffeinated drinks did not experience the same reduction in stroke risk.
It looks like the positive health effects of coffee-drinking come from antioxidants in the beverage, which lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function, according to researchers.
Taking into consideration factors such as cigarette and alcohol consumption, researchers found that healthy women who drank two to three cups of normal caffeinated coffee a day had, on average, a 19 per cent lower risk for any kind of stroke than did women who drank less than one cup a month.
They found that drinking four or more cups a day lowered the risk by 20 per cent.
Meanwhile, the study confirmed that the beneficial effects of coffee only apply to otherwise healthy people.
Grond warned that those with complaints such insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and cardiac complications should be aware that coffee consumption was likely to worsen their condition.
The study has been published in the March issue of the journal Circulation.