Articles From Whole Latte Love

Coffee: Joining the Fight Against Cancer

Posted: 10/23/06

Coffee with breast cancer ribbonIs coffee the cure for all that ails you?

For years now, scientists and researchers have been working diligently to determine the effects coffee has on the body. Does coffee help fight off infections and diseases because of the antioxidants and phytoestrogens found in it?

"Antioxidants help starve off cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke," Dr. Joe Vinson, a chemist at the University of Scranton. And because so many Americans nowadays get their majority of antioxidants from coffee, it has become your army to protect you from chronic diseases, he said.

In addition to antioxidants, coffee is an important source of phytoestrogens, a chemical that has been known to play a role in preventing some types of cancers, as well as regulating cholesterol and maintaining bone density. Coffee also contains caffeine, which is good for the heart and arteries, Dr. Vinison said. It helps reduce headaches and the risk of asthma attacks because it improves circulation within the heart.

Coffee has also been linked to reducing the risk of liver disease. Several months ago, researchers at Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, a clinical research facility in Pasadena, California, found that drinking coffee significantly reduces the risk of liver disease. They found that drinking a cup of coffee a day lowered the incidence of cirrhosis of the liver for alcohol drinkers by 22%. And earlier this year, a team of Japanese researchers at the National Cancer Center in Tokyo reported that folks who drink coffee on a daily basis apparently have half the liver cancer risk of those who don’t.

Researchers at the University of Toronto also studied the relationship coffee has with cancer, specifically breast cancer.

Women drinking coffee

They found that women who drink coffee regularly and carry the mutated gene BRCA1, which has been linked to breast cancer, could reduce their risk of developing the cancer by simply increasing coffee consumption.

According to Dr. Steven Narod, a researcher at the University of Toronto, women who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee a day reduced their likelihood of developing breast cancer by 10%. The more coffee the women drank, the better the response. If they drank 4 to 5 cups a day, the chances decreased by 25%, and if they drank 6 or more cups of coffee, the chances decreased by 69%. Researchers also found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of developing the most common form of diabetes.

Mark Pereira, an epidemiologist for the University of Minnesota who worked in conjunction with a research team from the Harvard School of Public Health, found that men who drank more than 6, eight-ounce cups of coffee a day lowered their risk of Type 2 Diabetes by half. For women who drank the same amount, their risk was reduced by nearly 30%.

"When you get up to 4 or 5 or more cups per day, you have very powerful antioxidant activity," Pereira said.

Finally, enough evidence that says yes indeed, coffee is good for you.

Help support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: This month, Whole Latte Love will be donating $1 from every purchase of the new "Inside Out Heart Cup and Saucer Set" and the "Pink Ribbon Reg Barber Tamper Handle" to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Your contributions will help fund breast cancer research, education, screenings and treatment programs.