It’s not big news that drinking two to four cups of coffee a day has a number of health benefits. Plus I like anything that gives me another excuse to drink coffee!

Researchers have already proved it reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. New studies published in the Archives of Internal coffee cupMedicine, show that caffeine is linked to a lower risk of stroke, skin cancer and depression. The researchers say caffeine may be the key protective ingredient, since decaffeinated coffee consumption was not associated with the benefits in these studies.

Dietitians at Weill Cornell Medical College say coffee contains other healthy ingredients that may provide defenses against multiple conditions. It is rich in antioxidants that can protect against cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases. But they can’t just say it’s coffee that makes people healthier because there are so many variables.

The depression study included 50,000 women at about 63 years of age. Those who drank four 8-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee daily were 20 percent less likely to become depressed.
The cancer study found that drinking about four cups a day was associated with the lowest risk of basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.

A stroke study, reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology, didn’t pinpoint how coffee affected the brain, but three to four cups a day protected it from stroke. Drinking more than that did not increase protection.