The Health Benefits Of Coffee For Preventing Cancer

2009-10-22 | |
Last updated: 2013-09-30
coffee and cancer

As far as industries go, the coffee industry is a behemoth. It is massive because it supports our widespread addiction to what has been called “black gold” or, in other words, our willingness to spend considerable amounts of money on coffee. And, of course, we are addicted with some 52% of Americans drinking coffee daily. Best estimates indicate that at least 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed globally each year. For the top 20 countries consuming coffee, that amounts to more than 5 kg or 11 lb of ground coffee per person annually.

Because it is a drink that has a near cult-like following, it is not surprising that significant research effort has been directed toward analyzing the effects of coffee on our health. Given the amount of the stuff that we collectively drink, it also makes sense to analyze simply to understand the effects of exposure! In particular, research efforts over a number of years have found many ways in which this drink affects our risks of cancer.

Why Is Coffee Good For Preventing Cancer?

Coffee is a source of antioxidants and based on research from the University of Scranton, the single biggest contributor to antioxidant intake for most people. The antioxidants in coffee have been found, by researchers at the University of South Carolina, to reduce damage to our DNA and inhibit tumor growth. That said, the antioxidants are not exclusive to coffee and are available in many, many other plants. It’s just that that coffee has more of them and more importantly, we don’t consume anything else nearly as often.

How Can Drinking Coffee Reduce Cancer Risks

Breast Cancer

Given the antioxidant nature of several ingredients in coffee and their tumor suppressing capabilities, it is not surprising that several studies have found benefits in cancer prevention from regular coffee consumption. Researchers at the Toronto Centre for Research in Women’s Health have found that women with a genetic defect that increases the risk of breast cancer can measurably lower their cancer risk through coffee consumption. The results found that those who drink 3 or less cups of caffeinated coffee daily reduced their risk by 10%, those that drank 4 to 5 cups per day reduced their risk by 25% and those that drank at least 6 cups reduced their risk by 69%.

While these numbers are good, 6 cups of coffee might be more than some people can handle and can sometimes lead to other health effects. At the same time, other studies show that caffeine can cause health problems. Still, for those with a known risk of breast cancer, the benefits of significant coffee consumption as a preventative may outweigh the risks and warrant discussion with a person’s doctor.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Medical Research

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