Moderate Coffee Intake Lowers Risk of Anxiety, Depression

2 min read

Sept. 15, 2023 – People who drink two to three cups of coffee per day are the least likely to have anxiety or depression, compared to people who drink more or less of the popular beverage. 

Previous research has suggested a variety of health benefits from drinking moderate amounts of coffee, such as lower risks of Type 2 diabetes, chronic liver disease, stroke, and cancer, study authors noted. They sought to understand whether a relationship exists between coffee drinking and depression or anxiety because these mental health conditions are so common. 

About 5% of U.S. adults experience regular feelings of depression, and nearly 13% regularly experience feelings of worry, nervousness, or anxiety, according to the CDC.

People who drank less than two to three cups of coffee per day had a decreased risk of depression and anxiety. But the risk was lowest among people who drank two to three daily cups. For every cup more than three per day, the risk of both mental health disorders increased.

The findings were published last month in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Researchers analyzed data for 146,566 people from the United Kingdom who answered questions about their mental health and coffee drinking habits between 2006 and 2010. 

In 2016, participants answered questions from two mental health questionnaires often used to diagnose anxiety and depression. The questionnaires are known as the PHQ-9 and the GAD-7. Questions include asking things such as how often in the past two weeks a person has:

  • Been bothered by not being able to control worrying?
  • Been feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
  • Had little interest or pleasure in doing things?

About 81% of participants were coffee drinkers, and the most frequently reported daily amount of coffee intake was two to three cups. The average age of people in the study was 56 years old, and nearly 57% were women.

“Our findings support the recommendation that moderate coffee consumption could be part of a healthy lifestyle to prevent and manage depression and anxiety in the general population,” the authors concluded.

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