A new study dispels reports suggesting that drinking multiple cups of coffee a day increases the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In the study, researchers examined dietary information collected every 4 years between 1980 and 1998 from 83,124 women. Over the 18- year study, 480 women developed RA. The researchers found that the risk of RA appeared unrelated to the amount of coffee, decaffeinated coffee, tea, and total caffeine the women consumed.
Whereas the women?s beverage choice was not a factor in their risk for RA, their smoking habits were an influence. In fact, the study showed that heavy smokers were more apt to develop RA, compared with nonsmokers. The researchers pointed out that other researchers also had made this discovery. (The findings were published recently in Arthritis & Rheumatism.)