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Can Coffee Help Prevent Colon Cancer?


Coffee lovers rejoice! There's a new reason to enjoy your morning cup of joe. Besides keeping you awake and many other benefits, new research from the University of Southern California suggests coffee may protect against colon and rectal cancers. It doesn't matter what your preference is—whether you like it with milk, flavored, decaf, or straight-up black, the benefits are the same.

Researchers studied more than 5,000 men and women with colorectal cancer and compared them to 4,000 men and women without colorectal cancer. They found that drinking 1 to 2 cups per day is associated with a 26 percent lower risk of developing cancer—and the stats are even better with more coffee consumption.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. so the findings could have implications for the future health of plenty of people. It's proposed that the antioxidant effect of caffeine and polyphenols in coffee may provide a protective effect by limiting the growth of cancer cells. Another element, melanoidin, which is developed during the roasting process, may also contribute antioxidant properties.

As coffee culture grows, it's good to know that your extra afternoon cup may be keeping you healthy in the long run. Previous research has found that coffee drinkers may have a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, as well as cirrhosis of the liver.

The downside of too much coffee? The anxiety and jitters when you've had one cup too many and the awful headache and tiredness from withdrawal. Keep it in moderation for the best results.


Deborah Tagliareni MS RD

Deborah Tagliareni, a Registered Dietitian and Founder of Milestone Nutrition, received her bachelors degree from Northwestern University and Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.  More →

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