Coffee reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer, says a study by researchers from the Comprehensive Cancer Centre of Keck Medicine at the University of Southern California. The study, available in the April 1 online issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, states that 2.5 servings of coffee daily decreased the risk by up to 50 percent.
The more coffee consumed, the lower the risk, says senior author Stephen Gruber. The reduced risk was observed in all types of coffee. That goes for all kinds of the caffeinated and even decaffeinated ones.
The researchers studied 5,100 men and women with the colorectal cancer diagnosis within the past six months and 4,000 men and women without colorecteral cancer. They filled a questionnaire with their familial history of cancer, diet, physical activity, and smoking as well as their daily consumption of other liquids and coffee, including instant boiled, decaf, and filtered coffee as well as their total consumption of other liquids.
The researchers found that coffee consumption, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, reduced the colorectal cancer risk. Even drinking only one to two servings of coffee each day was enough to decrease the risk by up to 26 percent.
The researchers speculate that coffee has many components that explain this benefit. They cite that polyphenol and caffeine act as antioxidants that probably prevent the growth of colon cancer cells.
The roasting process can also generate melanoidins, which could encourage colon mobility. Additionally, coffee’s diterpenes may also boost the defence against oxidative damage, preventing cancer.
“The levels of beneficial compounds per serving of coffee vary depending on the bean, roast, and brewing method,” says first author Stephanie Schmit. “The good news is that our data presents a decreased risk of colorectal cancer regardless of what flavour or form of coffee you prefer.”
“While the evidence certainly suggests this to be the case, we need additional research before advocating for coffee consumption as a preventive measure,” Gruber adds. “That being said, there are few health risks to coffee consumption, I would encourage coffee lovers to revel in the strong possibility that their daily mug may lower their risk of colorectal cancer.”