Many people get their day started with a couple cups of coffee.
Now a new study finds it may help women lower their chances of getting depressed.
Randall Pinkston reports.
We're a nation of coffee drinkers.
More than half of all adults drink coffee every day.
But for women those couple of cups of Joe may do more than give a lift they may help ward off depression .
Harvard School of Public Health researchers looked at more than 50,000 women, ages 50 to 70.
Women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 15% decreased risk of depression.
If they drank four or more cups, they were 20% less likely to get depressed.
"We don't know exactly how that works, but there could be a biological relationship where caffeine affects chemicals in the brain that are implicated in depression,
says Dr. Karestan Koenen from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.
Depression affects twice as many women as men. one in five women in the U.S. will develop it during their lifetime.
"If there is a protective relationship between caffeinated coffee and depression it should be explored because it could have a big public health impact," say Dr. Koenen.
Women in the study were moderate coffee drinkers, so most drank less than six cups a day.
But doctors warn drinking large amounts of caffeinated coffee may have other negative side effects for some people including insomnia, nervousness, restlessness and a fast heartbeat.
Researchers did not see any association between decaffeinated coffee and depression.
"I drink about a half a cup of caffeine, the rest decaf," says Chiropractor Dr. Jill Goldberg.
They say these new findings do not prove that caffeinated coffee causes less depression in women, so more studies are needed to confirm the link.
Randall Pinkston, CBS News, New York.
Women in the study were asked about how many caffeinated and decaffeinated beverages they drank including sodas and teas but most of the caffeine the women drank was from coffee.