Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coffee Anyone?

Like a lot of people in my age bracket, I suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure. I also have high cholesteral. Because of that, had to severly limit my consumption of beef... fewer to no hamburgers, one New York strip steak a month, one to no racks of barbecued ribs, hardly no pork chops, etc. You get the idea. All of the things I loved to eat for my entire life, I have to cut down on.

Today, while streaming the health news, I heard that something I do love, having my morning cup of joe (coffee) could actually be good for me and keep me from getting cancer down the road. The latest study shows that java junkies like myself are significantly less likely to develop head and neck cancer... and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk. (I never knew there was such a thing as head and neck cancer.)

Those who drank 4 or more cups of coffee a day were a whopping 39% less likely to develop tumors, according to the American Association for Cancer Research, which publishes Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the journal that published the study.

The study, which looked at pooled data from nine previous studies, didn't answer the question of whether decaf had the same anti-cancer effect as caffeinated coffee... but, it found no evidence that drinking tea affects the risk of head and neck cancer. The study was associative, which means although researchers found a strong link between coffee drinking and reduced cancer risk, they can't say for sure that it's the coffee doing the trick.

"Since coffee is so widely used and there is a relatively high incidence and low survival rate of these forms of cancers, our results have important public health implications that need to be further addressed," said Mia Hashibe, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and the lead author of the study. And, this isn't the first study to suggest that coffee has an anti-cancer effect.

Last December, Harvard University researchers presented data showing that coffee consumption lowers the risk of prostate cancer. Men who drank the most coffee were 60% less likely to get an aggressive form of the disease than men who didn't drink coffee. And, English researchers recently published a study that found that brain tumors were less common in people who drank at least five cups of coffee or tea a day. (I don't drink that much... one cup in the morning usually does it for me!)

Does light or moderate coffee consumption lower the risk of head and neck cancer? "We didn't see a clear association for the moderate drinkers," Hashibe told AOL Health. "But, coffee is a really complex set of chemicals. I wouldn't recommend that everybody drink that much coffee. If you do, at least you have something nice to think about as you struggle to fall asleep."

Of course, these studies shift back and forth a lot. Next year, someone else might be saying that coffee can cause cancer... you never know. Maybe, if I'm lucky, someone will say that steak, pork chops, ribs, fried chicken, and the like will lower blood preasure and cholesteral! What do you think? Nahhhh, it's not likely... but I can dream, can't I?


Arlene said...

This is surprising news. I guess keeping the belly full of coffee leaves little room for burgers, steaks and chops. I would have thought that the large amounts of caffeine would be a negative. I've got 4 coupons for McDonald's iced coffee drinks. I'm going to start using them.

P.S. My mother died from "head" cancer. Tumors can grow anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I hate coffee! Only drink it when I am writing or in the studio or sick.

Mayeb when I get older? *kanye west shrug*


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