Tea, Coffee May Reduce Stroke Risk

Tea Drinkers, Coffee Drinkers May Be Less Likely to Have Strokes

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on February 19, 2009

Feb. 19, 2009 -- The odds of having a stroke may be lower for tea drinkers and coffee drinkers.

That's according to two studies presented today in San Diego at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2009.

Those studies were observational -- participants weren't assigned to drink tea, coffee, or to skip those beverages -- so the findings don't prove that tea or coffee prevent stroke. Still, strokes were rarer among the tea drinkers and coffee drinkers studied, compared to their peers.

Here's a quick look at each study.

Tea study: Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) pooled data from 10 studies of clot-related strokes that mentioned tea consumption.

The key finding: Strokes were 21% less common among people from any country who drank three cups of tea per day, whether that tea was green tea or black tea.

Coffee study: Scientists at UCLA and the University of Southern California reviewed national health survey data from nearly 9,400 U.S. adults aged 40 and older.

Participants reported their typical daily coffee consumption and whether a doctor had ever told them that they had had a stroke. Strokes were reported by 5% of the group.

The key finding: The more cups of coffee participants drank, the less likely they were to report ever being diagnosed with a stroke. For instance, among people who reported drinking one to two cups of coffee per day, 5% reported a history of stroke, compared to 3.5% of people who reported drinking three to five daily cups of coffee and about 3% of people who said they drink six or more cups of coffee per day.

Earlier this week, a study published in Circulation linked coffee drinking to lower stroke risk in women. That study was also observational, so it doesn't show that coffee was the only important factor in cutting stroke risk.

If you're looking to lower your stroke risk, you may want to partner with your doctor to try these strategies:

  • Get regular medical checkups.
  • Control high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity and a nutritious diet.