Here’s to guilt-free gulping of the miraculous brew we call coffee. Following two recent studies that boast the health benefits of coffee consumption, comes more medical news touting of the joys of java. Not only does the murky liquid reduce the risk of breast cancer and decrease the risks for stroke in women, but it also cuts the risk for prostate cancer, meaning that men can get in on drinking up the health benefits too.
The good news for men comes from a recent study out of the Harvard School of Public Health. The research involved tracking the incidence of prostate cancer among a group of almost 48,000 American men who reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008.
The study found coffee consumption to be linked to a reduction in the risk for developing more aggressive forms of prostate cancer of up to 60 percent, and up to nearly a 20 percent less likelihood of developing any form of prostate cancer. The decrease in risk depends on the amount of coffee consumed. Therefore, the more you drink the more protection you may gain.
How much coffee does it take to get the maximum cancer protection? The study found that men who consumed six or more cups of coffee per day, over almost two decades, cut their risks the most, while those who drank a more moderate one to three cups daily reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 13 percent. The full details of the study can be found in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Even better, according to study co-author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, the findings were true for consumption of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. While the intake of too much caffeine can cause jitters, heart palpitations and insomnia, these findings indicate that even those who have kicked the caffeine habit, or those who simply avoid caffeine altogether, can get their coffee benefits and remain caffeine-free too.
Mucci acknowledged, “We’re not sure exactly what helps the association.” However, she went on to say, that coffee is one of the strongest antioxidants, that it helps with insulin and glucose metabolism, and may also help regulate sex hormone levels, which all play a role in prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men, after lung cancer.
Although, the reason for the link between coffee and its health benefits has not yet been determined, the list of coffee-related medical risk reductions continues to grow. Just last week, Swedish researchers found that women who drink five or more cups of coffee daily significantly lowered their risk of developing an aggressive form of breast cancer. In addition, a study released in March showed that women who enjoy a cup or more of coffee each day may reduce their risk of stroke by as much as 25 percent. In addition, Mucci pointed out, “Coffee now has been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, and a lower risk of cirrhosis and liver disease.”