The reasons to drink coffee, and lots of it, just keep growing. According to a study by the American Cancer Society that involved nearly one million people, drinking four cups of coffee significantly cuts the risk of dying from certain oral cancers.
As part of an ongoing mega-study that began in 1982, a team of American researchers have beenfollowing the lives of 968,432 men and women who were cancer-free at enrollment. Of them, 868 died from cancers of the mouth or pharynx (the part of the throat adjacent to the mouth). Of all the people in the study, the researchers found those who drank at least four cups of caffeinated coffee were 49% less likely to contract those types of cancer.
“Although it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in the world,” said Dr. Janet Hildebrand, the study’s lead author. “Our finding strengthens the evidence of a possible protective effect of caffeinated coffee in the etiology and/or progression of cancers of the mouth and pharynx.”
There was no significant variation in the results of the study between men and women, different ages, people who drank alcohol, or any other defining quality. But, the researchers did say that every daily cup of caffeinated coffee up to four cups increased the resistance to oral and pharyngeal cancer. The results for decaffeinated coffee were “marginal,” and there was no link indicated between any type of tea and these types of cancer.
While the researchers did not determine what exact ingredient in coffee led to the link (saying that further tests were needed), they were not reluctant to point out that coffee can be a healthy beverage. “Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and contains a variety of antioxidants, polyphenols, and other biologically active compounds that may help to protect against development or progression of cancers,” said Hildebrand.
Indeed, those nutrients make coffee good for your heart, a useful tool in warding off diabetes, and can even help treat Alzheimer’s and asthma.
There are risks associated with drinking large amounts of coffee, so any plan to increase coffee intake should first be discussed with a health-care professional.
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