Go ahead, be happy. Have a cup of java.

A large study at Harvard set out to find whether drinking coffee was associated with depression, as previous studies had hinted. Results were surprising.

“Regular coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing depression than non-coffee-drinkers,” Dr. Albert Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard University school of public health, told Metro.

Researchers analysed records for 50,739 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. None of these women had depression at the start of the study in 1996.


They were asked how much caffeine they consumed, and they were followed until 2006.

In that time, there were 2,607 cases of depression.

They compared women who drank one cup of coffee or less per week to those who drank two to three cups per day, and found the latter had a 15 per cent decrease in risk for depression.

And those who drank a whopping four cups a day were at a 20 per cent decrease in risk.

The authors — not wanting women to start drinking copious amounts of coffee helter skelter —note that these results need to be duplicated in other studies.

“Because of its observational design, this study cannot prove that caffeine or caffeinated coffee reduce the risk of depression, but only suggest the possibility of such protective effect,” says Ascherio.

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