Study finds coffee lowers risk for depression in women

(NBC) - Java does more than give you a jolt of energy in the morning. New research suggests it may help prevent depression in women.

Harvard researchers looked at data on more than 50,000 middle-aged women over a ten year period.

Those who drank the most caffeinated coffee, about four to five cups a day, were less likely to be diagnosed and treated for depression.

Decaf coffee did not have the same protective effect. The key is likely the caffeine, but researchers didn't have enough data on caffeinated soda or tea drinkers to know for sure.

"I've seen a number of women who are already depressed. Middle aged women who tell me that caffeine does more for them than any other of the medications around," said Dr. Michael McKee with the Cleveland Clinic.

Depression affects about one-in-five women during their lifetime.

Doctors say it's way too early to start prescribing coffee. Genetics and a number of lifestyle factors affect a person's risk for depression, but it seems a cup of Joe might leave you feeling good well beyond the last drop.

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