Using data from the large, long-term Nurses’ Health Study, a team of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that daily consumption of caffeinated coffee was associated with a significantly lower risk of clinical depression in women.
The team of scientists used the diet and mental health information of more than 50,700 women with an average age of 63 over a 10-year period. The researchers discovered that those who consumed the most caffeine per day, about 550 milligrams (mg), had a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression when compared to females who consumed 100 mg or less per day.
“In this large prospective cohort of older women free of clinical depression or severe depressive symptoms at baseline, risk of depression decreased in a dose-dependent manner with increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee,” said study authors.
The researchers noted that their findings do not provide definitive proof that coffee or caffeine can prevent certain mental conditions — rather, they suggest a correlation. As a result, individuals should practice moderation when drinking caffeinated beverages, as is the case with any type of stimulant or drug.