Coffee: The more you drink, the healthier you are
Coffee may protect you from Breast Cancer
It’s good for us, it’s bad for us and then it’s good again. Now the latest is that coffee may prevent some types of breast cancer but only if you drink a lot of it.
A study just published in November in the Journal Breast Cancer Research, involved 5,929 postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74 and found that heavy coffee drinkers had a significantly lower risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative(ER-negative) breast cancer.
If you like to drink a lot of coffee, you are going to be thrilled with this study. It seems that those women who consumed more than five cups of coffee a day were 57 per cent less likely to develop this type of breast cancer than women who drank less than one cup a day.
If you ever had a lump on your breast and a biopsy was performed, the cancerous cells are tested to see if they have hormone receptors. Hormone receptor-positive tumours are fuelled by the female hormones estrogen and progesterone and this type of breast cancer is a lot more lethal. Hormone receptor-negative cells are not affected by these hormones so it is not as life-threatening but this type of cancer accounts for 25 per cent of all the positive diagnosis.
Not only did the heavy coffee drinkers test negative for this cancer but as a group they were less likely to be diagnosed with it in the first place.
The researchers deduced that coffee raises blood levels of enterolactone, a phytochemical that has been associated with lower risk of ER-negative breast cancer.
In Sweden, coffee is boiled, not drop filtered. Similar to French press coffee, boiled coffee contains more coffee-specific fatty acids than filtered coffee.
This latest study adds to the mounting evidence that coffee does more good than harm. However, it is important to note that the coffee used was real coffee from coffee beans and not the chemically laden instant variety.
More Good News about Coffee
Type 2 Diabetes. More than fifteen published studies have indicated that coffee reduces the risk of getting diabetes. Once again one study indicated that people who drink four to six cups of coffee a day were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who drank two cups a day or fewer. The six cup-a-day drinkers reduced their risk by 35 per cent.
When coffee is roasted some of the antioxidants become more potent and the theory is that these antioxidants reduce inflammation in the body and improve how the body uses insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. Coffee also contains chromium and magnesium, two minerals linked to blood-sugar regulation.
It is also possible that if your principle beverage is coffee rather than colas sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, then just the avoidance of sugary drinks may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Another recently published study conducted among 41,836 healthy women, aged 55 to 69, found that drinking one to six cups a day of coffee a day, caffeinated or decaffeinated, significantly reduced the risk of dying from heart disease. Those who drank four to six cups a day had the lowest incidence of heart conditions and strokes.
A ten year study just published this month found that among 35,000 women, those who drank one or more cups of coffee a day, versus those who drank less than a cup, were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke.
Besides breast cancer, coffee also seems to reduce the risk of liver cancer. These studies were only done with healthy people and not those with cirrhosis of the liver, or any type of liver disease such as hepatitis. Once again it is felt that the antioxidants in coffee protect the liver from carcinogens but it will not offer any protection to a damaged liver.
Habitual coffee consumption appears to offer you some protection against Parkinson’s disease and it is probably due to the caffeine. Harvard University researchers found that men who consumed the most caffeine reduced their risk for Parkinson’s by 48 per cent. Woman who drank one to three cups of coffee a day reduced their risk by 50 per cent.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Once again we are looking at the caffeine effects on the brain because it is a brain stimulant. In a study published this year, Swedish and Finnish researchers followed 1409 men and women for 21 years and found that those who drank coffee during midlife, compared with those who didn’t were less likely to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s later on in their lives. Once again the lowest risk was in people who drank three to five cups of coffee a day.
Before you decide to spend your leisure hours at Tim Horton’s or Starbucks, you have to consider some of the downsides of drinking a lot of coffee. If you drink decaffeinated coffee you have now taken a naturally alkaline product and turned into an acidic one. This can create gastrointestinal problems, heartburn and acid reflux. Even regular coffee stimulates acid production from your stomach.
If you drink real coffee then the caffeine is natural and organically bound. However many people suffer insomnia and headaches from coffee consumption.
Finally if you are one of those people who order their coffee double, double then you are asking for a lot of extra calories. Black coffee only accounts for 5 calories a cup but a 14 ounce double-double at Tim Horton’s will contain 230 calories and that doesn’t include the doughnut. A grande (16 ounce) Caramel Brulee Latte at Starbucks will contain 300 calories; not a drink to have 4 or 5 times day.
So while you are out there doing your Christmas shopping every time you decide to take a break, sit down and have a coffee, you are probably contributing to your good health. That is; as long as you resist the temptation to eat the pastry with it.