11 Diseases Coffee Can Prevent

Thanks to National Coffee Day, we've found 11 reasons to grab a cup of coffee

iStockphoto/ Thinkstock
Would you believe that coffee can prevent certain types of cancer?

Prostate Cancer

Add another type of cancer to the list: Studies from Harvard Public School of Health show that men who drank more than six cups of coffee per day (talk about a caffeine jolt) had a lower risk of lethal prostate cancer. It’s believed that it’s not the caffeine in coffee that does the trick here, but the phenolic acids and antioxidant activity that cuts cancer risk; patients who drank decaf coffee still had a decreased risk of lethal prostate cancer. However, coffee doesn’t lower the risk of all prostate cancer, studies note, just the "high grade" strains. And researchers from Australia believe that green tea may pack a stronger punch against prostate cancer than coffee.

Endometrial cancer

Endometrial cancer is the most common type of uterine cancer, affecting women usually between the ages of 60 and 70. When obese, post-menopausal women were studied for their coffee habits, those who drank two or more cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of endometrial cancer. Another study from the Harvard Public School of Health found that even one cup of coffee per day significantly reduced risk. It could be because coffee lowers levels of insulin and estrogen. No word yet on if decaf coffee also lowers endometrial cancer risk. Be forewarned, though: black coffee will have a bigger impact in cutting risk. As another study from Harvard concluded, the "addition of substantial sugar and cream to coffee could offset any potential benefits." 

Liver Cancer

One University of Minnesota study found that high coffee intake — more than three cups per day — significantly decreased risk of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer. And it’s been found in several studies that a higher consumption of coffee is usually associated with a lower risk of liver cancer. 

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, can affect the gums, lining of the cheeks, and the floor and roof of the mouth. Caffeinated coffee showed a reduction of risk of cancer in the oral cavity and pharynx in one U.K. study. But, the risk was only lowered with about four cups of coffee per day. 

Depression

The more you drink coffee, the less depressed you’ll be? That’s what one study found, which followed 50,000 women between the ages of 35 and 50. Those who drank two to three cups per day were 15 percent less likely to develop symptoms of depression; however, the reason is unclear. The researchers said it might even be because of lifestyle; those who drink coffee tend to be more "behaviorally activated" than their non-drinking peers, which could mean they were already less prone to depression. (photo Thinkstock/ iStockphoto)

Death

We're not sure if you can count death as a disease, but coffee just might be the trick to living longer. A study of 400,000 Americans between the ages of 50 and 71 found that those who drank two to three cups per day were 10 to 15 percent less likely to die in the next 13 years. Some attribute its powers to antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals. 

 



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