Can Coffee Cure Cancer?

Coffee is a wonderful drink. It makes mornings possible for millions of sleep-deprived people across the country. It kicks of a cozy chat with a good friend and caps off a wonderful meal. Now there is research that ties coffee drinking with a reduced risk of uterine cancer.

Harvard University scientists studied nearly 70,000 women and their health records over 26 years. The women were between 34 and 59 years old and were divided into three groups: those who drank little or no coffee, those who drank two or three cups of coffee each day and those who drank four or more cups of coffee each day.

In the study, the coffee drinkers had a lower occurrence of uterine/endometrial cancer than those who abstained. The 2-3 cup a day drinkers had a 7% lower risk of cancer and the heavy coffee drinkers had a 25% lower risk of cancer. Pretty compelling results!

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. There was no "cause and effect" tie claimed between drinking coffee and lower incidence of cancer, although the researchers did not rule that out. The scientists did point out that coffee drinkers typically have lower levels of insulin and estrogen than non-drinkers. Separate studies have tied high levels of insulin and estrogen to endometrial cancer.

Other studies have connected coffee drinking with reduced risk of liver and prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's and cirrhosis of the liver. Other benefits are associated with antioxidants, and coffee has more antioxidants than the standard-bearer for antioxidants:  green tea.

Does this mean that you should drink coffee to avoid cancer? That's a bit premature. Much more study is required before you can expect your doctor to prescribe a daily espresso. There are some downsides to coffee drinking to be considered, such as insomnia, heartburn, increased blood pressure and irritability. Moderation should always be your guide. A few cups of coffee a day seems to be a positive thing, on net. It can also avoid those nasty bruises from hitting your face on your keyboard when you fall asleep at work! That is priceless.

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