According to new research published in BMJ Open, having a few cups of coffee daily could lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.
This is because coffee contains chemicals with anti-carcinogenic (or cancer-preventing) properties, including suppressing an enzyme responsible for tumor formation.
It’s recommended to keep your caffeine consumption under 400 milligrams (mg) per day, which is about four or five cups of brewed coffee.
For those who consume coffee regularly—hello, pre- and post-workout cups of joe!—there’s some evidence-backed assurance that it may be doing you more good than harm. A recent research review published in BMJ Open found that having a few cups daily could lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.
Researchers looked at 16 studies that examined coffee consumption and prostate cancer incidence, and the amount of cups per day varied widely, from two to nine or more. They found that compared with the lowest intake, higher amounts were associated with a 7% lower risk of localized prostate cancer and about 15% lower risk for advanced cancer.
There are a couple caveats here, however. One is that the amount of coffee consumption was based on recall, which researchers pointed out can be less dependable than more controlled, observational studies. Also, the design and methods of the studies varied, so they concluded more investigation will be needed to confirm the links.
That said, the results weren’t surprising, according to lead author Kefeng Wang, Ph.D., researcher in the department of urology at Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University. He told Bicycling that animal-based research suggested that coffee can both stimulate and suppress tumors, depending on the animal species, but results in human studies have been inconsistent.
“Although the potential mechanisms of how coffee impacts prostate cancer risk have not been studied thoroughly, some studies show an association,” he said, adding that roasted coffee is a complex mix of over 1,000 chemicals with numerous constituents, even apart from caffeine.
In terms of which chemicals might be particularly promising for prostate cancer, Wang stated there are two worth more investigation, called cafestol and kahweol. These have been discovered to have anti-carcinogenic (or cancer-preventing) properties, including suppressing an enzyme responsible for tumor formation.
Another plus, he said, is that coffee is a major source of chlorogenic acid, which has an antioxidant effect on the body.
Then, there’s caffeine itself. A study on gastric cancer cells found that the substance itself has anti-cancer effects.
Plus, another recent study found caffeine can improve athletic performance, including boosting your endurance, so not only can your regular cup of joe be a potential benefit for prostate health, it could help boost your workouts as well.
With all these benefits, it may be tempting to start an IV drip of the good stuff, but keep in mind that caffeinated coffee does have drawbacks as well—previous research suggests overconsumption may heighten anxiety and negatively affect sleep, for example. The FDA suggests staying under 400 milligrams (mg) per day, which is about four or five cups of brewed coffee.
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