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1 Drink Cuts Risk of Depression or Suicide by 50%?

By on July 30, 2013
While Diet Coke is usually associated with adverse health effects, such as poor blood glucose control and obesity, it turns out having a cup of Joe can do you a lot of good for your mental health.

According to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, people who drank up to 4 cups of coffee a day were 50 percent less likely to commit suicide caused by depression.

While researchers aren’t saying coffee is the key to treating severe depression, they cannot deny this finding raises more questions about its viability as a mental health aid.

“Consumption of caffeine, coffee, and decaffeinated coffee, was assessed every 4 years by validated food-frequency questionnaires. Deaths from suicide were determined by physician review of death certificates,” say researchers. “These results from three large cohorts support an association between caffeine consumption and lower risk of suicide.”

If you’re suffering from a case of the blues, then the news couldn’t be better: Making coffee a habit could save your mental health–and your life.

Research into Coffee’s Anti-Depression Effects, Revealed

The study, which was published in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, compiled three U.S. health studies to study the effects of caffeine and its effects on suicide risk. A total of 43,599 men and 164,825 women were evaluated during the start of these studies, and were evaluated via questionnaire. Follow up studies were given every four years.

During the studies, researchers also tracked the death certificates of any participants who died during research–around 280 deaths in total.

After the conclusion of the studies, researchers found their answer–those who drank between 2 to 4 cups of caffeinated coffee daily cut their suicide risk from depression in half. Those who opted for soda or tea for their caffeine fix didn’t experience the same benefits, however.

“As discussed in a previous article, caffeine acts as an expert mimic of a chemical called adenosine in the brain and other parts of the body,” says David DiSalvo, a contributor for Forbes.com. “When that happens, levels of the brain’s homegrown neuro-stimulants–dopamine and glutamate–increase, and we experience the brain stimulating effects associated with drinking a big cup of java. Seen this way, coffee may act as a mild antidepressant–at least to an extent.”

While research is still ongoing, the evidence thus far is compelling–enough to make some doctors recommend a higher consumption of coffee to help those suffering from clinical depression.

How to Add More Coffee To Your Diet

While many Americans are acquainted with their morning cup of Joe, not all of us are–and for some, drinking at least the two cups as seen in the study proves difficult. So how can you fit enough coffee in your diet to reduce your depression and suicide risk?

  • Add some flavor. Most oppose coffee because of its bitter taste, but there are ways to make it tastier–such as adding a pinch of honey or sugar. Some also cool the beverage and add a splash of milk to make iced coffee, a popular beverage during the summer.
  • Add it to food. No, you need not always sip your coffee to reap its benefits; adding it to food, such as cake, nut bread, or risotto are all delicious ways to get your coffee fix (just make sure not to overdo it, since these recipes aren’t figure-friendly).
  • Have it with every meal. Having coffee with a hearty meal takes the edge off the bitterness, and may even dull your appetite, making it an effective weight loss aid.

Readers: What are some other ways you enjoy your coffee?

Sources:
Suicide Risk Cut By Coffee ConsumptionInformahealthcare.com
Will A Few Cups of Coffee a Day Keep the Blues Away?Forbes.com

About The Author: Health Cracker!

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