POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2009 - 6:52pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 11:01am
UNDATED - There are several known factors that increase your risk for stroke; smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, the list goes on and on.
But there are also factors that can prevent a stroke everything from what you drink to where you live may play a role.
Studies presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference outline what will help or hurt your stroke prevention efforts.
That cup of Joe may do more than kick start your morning.
A study by researchers at UCLA finds the more coffee you drink, the lower your risk for stroke; even if you have other habits that might increase your risk, like smoking.
"Despite the very large sway of these other factors that have been known for many years, the role high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease in predicting stroke, coffee actually decreased the prevalence of stroke," said UCLA Neurologist Dr. David Liebeskind.
If you'd rather drink tea than coffee, you're also in luck.
A separate UCLA study of nearly 200,000 people finds drinking green or black tea can significantly cut your risk for stroke.
"Drinking three cups of tea was associated with a 21% risk reduction in risk of stroke," said UCLA Professor of Medicine Lenore Arab.
But drinking coffee and tea may not help if you live in a neighborhood with several fast food restaurants.
A study out of the University of Michigan finds a 13 percent increased risk for stroke in neighborhoods with more than 33 fast food restaurants.
Researchers say they don't have reason to believe fast food restaurants cause stroke.
This study demonstrates an association between the two and more studies are needed.
But they do know a healthy diet and exercise can lower your risk, as well things you may do without giving much thought.
"Things that may not seem as mainstream, the amount of coffee we drink or tea, or whether we abstain from smoking or not, these have a huge effect," said Liebeskind.
So next time you stop at a drive through consider ordering a coffee.
The researchers emphasize they are not recommending people consume massive amounts of coffee or tea, because there are risks associated with drinking too much like an increased heart rate.
They are also not sure how coffee and tea are protecting the brain, they say more studies are needed to look at the mechanism behind this benefit.