There’s more good news for coffee drinkers. A new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found coffee consumption may decrease the risk of colorectal cancer. What’s more, the indication of decreased risk was seen across all types of coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.
Researchers from the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and others examined more than 5,100 men and women who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer within the past six months. They also inspected an additional 4,000 men and women with no history of colorectal cancer to serve as a control group. Participants reported their daily consumption of boiled (espresso), instant, decaffeinated and filtered coffee, as well as their total intake of other liquids. A questionnaire also gathered information about many other factors that influence the risk of colorectal cancer, including family history of cancer, diet, physical activity and smoking.
After adjusting for known risk factors, the data showed that even moderate coffee consumptionbetween one to two servings a daywas associated with a 26 percent reduction in the odds of developing colorectal cancer. Moreover, the risk of developing colorectal cancer continued to decrease to up to 50 percent when participants drank more than 2.5 servings of coffee each day. The indication of decreased risk was seen across all types of coffee, both caffeinated and decaffeinated.
“We found that drinking coffee is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk," said Stephen Gruber, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and senior author of the study. “We were somewhat surprised to see that caffeine did not seem to matter. This indicates that caffeine alone is not responsible for coffee’s protective properties."
Caffeine and polyphenol can act as antioxidants, limiting the growth of potential colon cancer cells. Melanoidins generated during the roasting process have been hypothesized to encourage colon mobility. Diterpenes may prevent cancer by enhancing the body’s defense against oxidative damage.
“The levels of beneficial compounds per serving of coffee vary depending on the bean, roast and brewing method," said lead author Stephanie Schmit. “The good news is that our data presents a decreased risk of colorectal cancer regardless of what flavor or form of coffee you prefer.’
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer that is diagnosed in both men and women in the United States, with nearly 5 percent of men and just over 4 percent of women developing the disease over their lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States, more than 95,000 new cases of colon cancer and 39,000 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in this year alone.
In January, a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found contrary to current clinical belief, regular caffeine consumption does not lead to extra heartbeats, which, can lead in rare cases to heart- or stroke-related morbidity and mortality.