Caffeine high

Not only is coffee not bad for you, it might actually help your heart.

Published November 9, 2005 12:49PM (EST)

Next time you're out, don't be so quick to turn down that second (or third or fourth) cup of joe. A study released today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which followed more than 155,000 nurses over 12 years, reports that women who drink coffee -- even lots and lots of it -- are no more likely than those who don't to develop hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Chronic cola drinkers, however, should beware. Women in the study who had a fondness for Coke and its kin did appear to have a greater risk of high blood pressure.

Why the discrepancy, when both drinks have caffeine? Although the study isn't conclusive, the researchers offer a possible explanation: Coffee contains antioxidants, which are thought to be good for the heart, and also protect against cancer.

What next? Maybe we'll be able to count our midmorning coffee jitters as exercise.

By Hillary Frey

Hillary Frey is the Books editor at Salon.

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