Strokes kill around 200 people every day in the UK. Many more are left disabled and living in fear that a second or even third attack could kill them. In the past the use of coffee has been linked with heart disease and can raise the risk of miscarriages in pregnant women.
Previous studies have shown coffee can protect against gout, memory loss, liver disease and even some cancers. However, the latest study conducted by experts at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain, who analyzed the drinking habits of 83,000 women who were tracked for 24 years, revealed that two to three cups of coffee a day may reduce the risk of a stroke by almost 20 per cent. Women who drank five to seven cups a week saw their risk lowered by 12 per cent. In those consuming two to three cups a day, the reduction was 19 per cent and for those on four or more daily it was 20 per cent. Although the study was carried out in women, it is thought any benefits would also apply to men.
According to this study, coffee lovers are much less likely to suffer a clot on the brain. The more coffee they drank, the lower their risk. But experts at the Autonomous University of Madrid stressed coffee only protects against illness in those who are healthy. They warned patients with existing heart disease or blood pressure problems are unlikely to benefit by drinking more.
Dr. Esther Lopez-Garcia, who led the study, said something else must account for coffee’s health benefits. ‘Antioxidants in coffee can lower inflammation and improve blood vessel function’, she said. However, researchers said it’s unlikely that the protection comes from caffeine in coffee because other caffeinated drinks, such as tea, did not have the same benefit but decaffeinated coffee did.
But wine lovers are not so lucky. It seems that consuming just one 125ml glass of wine increases the chance of developing mouth and throat cancer by 168 per cent. A study made by France’s National Cancer Institute (INCA) reported that other cancers are also more likely to strike regular drinkers. Dominique Maraninchi, INCA’s president, said: ‘Small daily doses of alcohol are the most harmful. There is no amount, however small, which is good for you.’
The findings came as a surprise as previous researches had found that the antioxidants in red wine can actually reduce the risk of cancer. But there is very little evidence that red wine has any specific benefits over other alcoholic drinks. Anyway, this recent study warns that the consumption of any kind of alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) is associated with an increase in the risk of cancers – mouth, larynx, oesophagus, colon-rectum, and breast cancer.
So the more you cut down on alcohol, the more you can reduce your cancer risk!