Coffee and How it Affects Cancer Risks; No Clear Cut Answers

Americans love their coffee and most drink at least 1 cup of coffee a day; many feel like they can’t possibly face a morning without it. The findings that this coveted beverage may protect from cancer would be spectacular. In fact, there is indeed some reason to believe it could.

Because it is brewed from beans that contain antioxidants which are thought to have a protective effect against cancer, coffee could prove to be beneficial.

After conducting more than 1,000 studies, researches have looked at this question, with mixed results. The original results did not look promising because some early studies seemed to show that coffee might increase risk of some cancer types. However, since those early studies, others that were larger and better designed weakened those early conclusions. In fact, many of the newer studies link coffee drinking to a lowered risk of some types of cancer. These include liver cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer and some types of cancers of the mouth and throat.

Some of these studies found benefits only in a group of people who drank 4 to 6 cups of coffee a day. This amount is more than the average coffee drinker. When people ingest too much caffeine it can interfere with their sleep, cause digestive issues and trigger migraines. For people that take their coffee with cream and sugar, the added fat and calories can contribute to weight gain. This can increase the risk for many types of cancers.

An alternative way for people to consume more antioxidants is by adding more vegetables and fruits to their diets. These are rich sources of antioxidants. Many studies show that people who eat more fruits and vegetables may be helping to lower their cancer risk.

Acrylamide: a chemical found in coffee

A California court ruling related to acrylamide which is a chemical formed during the coffee roasting process, was made in March of 2018. This ruling raised some concerns and questions with consumers. Originally a judge in California ruled in favor of a consumer group that argued coffee companies in California must post cancer warnings to customers. However, since then, the state’s environmental health arm argued that based on the latest research, acrylamide in coffee poses no significant cancer risk. This group found that it may even have health benefits.

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