Good news for all you latte lovers out there: Drinking at least one cup of coffee or green tea a day can reduce your risk of stroke! There’s good news and a little bad news, so let’s dig into the science behind coffee and stroke risk.
The Studies Are In
According to an article from WebMD, those who drank at least 1 cup of coffee a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20% compared to nondrinkers. Also, those who drank 2-3 cups of green tea daily had a 14% lower risk of stroke, while 4 cups a day lead to a 20% reduced risk.
The compounds found in coffee and green tea (which we will discuss next) are mostly responsible for its health benefits, but researchers also found that those who drank these caffeinated beverages were more likely to exercise. Since exercise helps reduce your risk of stroke by boosting your cardiovascular health, it sounds like a win-win to us!
Caffeine vs Antioxidants
Caffeine aside, the true health benefits of coffee and green tea reside in their potent antioxidants. In fact, the antioxidants help counteract the potentially harmful effects of caffeine (exercise aside, of course). Antioxidants help fight free radicals, which are harmful molecules linked to the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis) and other adverse conditions. We want to keep our blood vessels as healthy as we can to reduce our risk of stroke, and coffee can help! Here’s the exception:
Those with hypertension need to steer clear of caffeine since it raises blood pressure and can worsen the condition. Since hypertension is the leading cause of stroke, anything that worsens the condition will significantly increase your risk of stroke – yikes! Instead, opt to get your antioxidants from un-caffeinated sources like blueberries and pomegranates.
Don’t Reverse the Benefits
Now that there’s a reason to love coffee even more, don’t reverse its health-promoting benefits by loading it with processed sugar and fake dairy. Processed and artificial sweeteners are bad for your health and actually increase your risk of stroke by promoting inflammation. So try getting used to taking your coffee black; or if you have to use sugar, try opting for the least-processed varieties like Sugar in the Raw.
And there you have it – another reason to love that morning cuppa joe!