Cup of Joe Could Save Your Life
Feeling guilty about your coffee fix? Grab a mug and take a seat; your morning habit may prevent liver cancer.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
February 18, 2005
Coffee has been shown in past studies to reduce the risk of diabetes. This week, a large epidemiological study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that of 90,000 Japanese people studied, those who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee.
Surprising given tea’s protective effects measured in other studies, the researchers found no protective effect against liver cancer in those who drank green tea every day but not coffee.
In a separate study based on analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up study (two large longitudinal studies often used to analyze the impact of diet and other factors on disease), researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital found no association between caffeinated coffee or tea and colorectal cancer. However, they did find that people who drank two or more cups of decaffeinated coffee cut their risk of rectal cancer in half compared to those who never drank decaf.
Researchers in this study could not determine whether the reduced risk of colon cancer was linked to other healthful behaviors in the group of women who drank decaf.
Until researchers clear up whether the health benefits of coffee can be obtained by drinking decaf, you can always comfort yourself when you drop five dollars at Starbucks after a hard night out that you are investing in the future health of your liver.
“Influence of Coffee Drinking on Subsequent Risk of Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Prospective Study in Japan,” Inoue et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 97, No. 4, 293-300, February 16, 2005
“Coffee, Tea, and Caffeine Consumption and Incidence of Colon and Rectal Cancer,” Michels et al. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 97, No. 4, 282-292, February 16, 2005