Coffee & Health: Men vs. women

Coffee & Health – Is coffee better for men or women?
Over the past year or so there have been many articles and studies on the topic of coffee health – the benefits and detriments from one of the world’s favorite beverages. Most of us couldn’t get through the day without our fix of caffeine. Fortunately for coffee lovers, the vast majority of recent news is positive – but who fares better by consuming coffee, men or women?

Actually coffee is good for both sexes – among last years reports there were several long term studies that showed a positive correlation between coffee consumption and protection against:

• Type 2 Diabetes
• Heart attacks and strokes
• Parkinsons Disease
• Alzheimer’s
• Prostate Cancer
• Endometrial Cancer
• Depression

“There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health,” says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Hu has published several articles and studies including his own comprehensive review regarding Type 2 diabetes.

In 2005, Hu’s team reviewed nine studies on coffee and type 2 diabetes. Of more than 193,000 people, those who said they drank more than six or seven cups daily were 35% less likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who drank fewer than two cups daily. There was a smaller perk — a 28% lower risk — for people who drank 4-6 cups a day. The findings held regardless of sex, weight, or geographic location (U.S. or Europe).

Lower rates of heart disease and stroke

There’s a direct link between diabetes and heart disease, so lower diabetes, lower heart and pulmonary problems, including stroke. Coffee has also been linked to lower risks for heart rhythm disturbances (another heart attack and stroke risk factor) in men and women.

In a study of about 130,000 Kaiser Permanente health plan members, people who reported drinking 1-3 cups of coffee per day were 20% less likely to be hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) than nondrinkers, regardless of other risk factors. And, for women, coffee may mean a lower risk of stroke.

In 2009, a study of 83,700 nurses enrolled in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study showed a 20% lower risk of stroke in those who reported drinking two or more cups of coffee daily compared to women who drank less coffee or none at all. That pattern held regardless of whether the women had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes.

Parkinsons & Alzheimers
“For Parkinson’s disease, the data have always been very consistent: higher consumption of coffee is associated with decreased risk of Parkinson’s,” Hu tells WebMD. That seems to be due to caffeine, though exactly how that works isn’t clear, Hu notes.

Coffee has also been linked to lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. A 2009 study from Finland and Sweden involving over 1,400 people traced their health and habits for 20 years, found that those who reported drinking 3-5 cups of coffee daily were 65% less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared with nondrinkers or occasional coffee drinkers. Given how little we currently know about these brain diseases, a 65% potential decrease is worth serious consideration. I’ll drink to that.

Endometrial & Prostrate Cancer
Long-term coffee consumption may also be associated with a reduced risk for endometrial cancer. In a study that covered 26 years and over 60,000 nurses, Edward Giovannucci, MD, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School noted that nurses who drank more than four cups of coffee per day had a 25 percent reduced risk for endometrial cancer, and that drinking two to three cups per day was linked with a 7 percent reduced risk.

For men there is a similar correlation for prostrate cancer. As part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, Harvard scientists followed 47,911 men who periodically described their coffee intake. The researchers found that men who consumed six or more cups a day were almost 20 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer over two decades than those who drank none.


And here’s where the women seem to win out. Coffee has been shown to elevate women’s moods and help stem depression. “We found that those women who regularly drink four or more cups of coffee a day have a 20 percent lower risk of developing depression than those who rarely or never drink coffee,” Ascherio said.His team studied more than 50,000 women enrolled in a health study of nurses that spanned 10 years.

Guys, don’t be depressed. His study also cites that male coffee drinkers have a better outlook on life. So again, drink up!

If you’re like me, and looking for some great supportive news to support your daily coffee habit – well now you have several. And here’s one just for fun. Take the coffee health quiz from Dr. Oz. So next time someone tells you coffee is bad for you….

One Response to “Coffee & Health: Men vs. women”

  1. Colleen McHugh | August 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I started drinking your coffee about two weeks ago and then this past weekend I didn’t have any. On Sunday I started feeling tired and on Monday I couldn’t get out of bed. Can you tell me what the caffeine content is what other stimulants in your coffee might have lead to my withdrawal symptoms?

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