In the past there have been conflicting data on the health benefits and risks of drinking coffee — however, in general, the studies have been far more positive than negative. And now, a new study finds that men who drank six or more cups of coffee per day over nearly two decades were 60 percent less likely to develop more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
Furthermore, men like me, who drink only 1 to 3 cups per day lowered their risk of prostate cancer by 13 percent, according to the study which was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. And, even better, the findings were the same in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee drinkers.
Here are more details from ABC News: “We’re not sure exactly what helps the association,” said Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study. “Coffee is one of the strongest antioxidants.”
Beyond Mucci’s research, other recent studies have tipped the health scale in favor of coffee.
Just one week ago, a Swedish study (I’ve blogged about elsewhere) showed women who drink five or more cups of coffee a day had a much lower risk of developing an aggressive form of breast cancer.
“Coffee now has been associated with
- a lower risk of diabetes,
- a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease,
- a lower risk of cirrhosis and liver disease,” said Mucci.
- Drinking coffee reduces breast cancer risk
- Coffee may have perks for longer living
- Tea and coffee ‘protect against heart disease’
While studies are conflicted about the risk and benefits of coffee for some types of cancer, it is clear that drinking excessive amounts of coffee can lead to jitters, heart palpitations and insomnia.
“All the epidemiological studies on risks and benefits of coffee look promising,” said Soule. “But then we’re seeing the findings didn’t hold up in prospective studies.”
Still, Soule said the factors hypothesized in the study suggesting that coffee may contribute to the decreased risk of prostate cancer could hold some weight. But without a stronger form of studies looking at coffee’s relationship to any given disease, it’s hard to definitively say what the true risks and benefits could be.
“The disclaimer is that it requires a prospective randomized trial over 20 years, which likely will never be done,” he said.
Here are some of my other blogs about the health benefits of coffee: