New research indicates that the caffeine in coffee decreases the likelihood that postmenopausal women will develop breast cancer. Previous research has established that the caffeine in coffee fends off type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer and may also offer protection against skin cancer.
A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research examined nearly 6,000 postmenopausal Swedish women aged 50 to 74. The conclusion: Heavy coffee drinkers had a significantly lower risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative (ER-negative) breast cancer. Compared with women who drank less than one cup of coffee a day, those who consumed more than five cups were almost 60 percent less likely to develop the cancer. (One cup of coffee was defined as six ounces.)
The reduction in breast cancer risk has now been added to the long list of caffeine’s amazing health benefits. Just a few of these include:
- Reduced risk of getting type 2 diabetes: Proven by over 15 published studies. One large study found that people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day were nearly 30 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared with those who drank two cups or fewer. Furthermore, consuming more than six cups each day reduced the risk by 35 per cent. In addition, caffeine, as a potent antioxidant, is believed to reduce inflammation and improve how the body uses insulin.
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke: A study over over 40,000 women, aged 55 to 69, found that drinking one to six cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of dying from heart disease. Coffee may also shield women from stroke. A 10-year study published this year of nearly 35,000 women found that those who drank one or more cups of coffee a day – versus less than one – were significantly less likely to suffer a stroke.
- Reduced risk of liver cancer: The caffeine in coffee seems to cut the risk liver cancer. Many studies have found that regular coffee drinking helps to protect people with and without a history of cirrhosis from liver cancer. The more coffee consumed each day, the lower the risk.
- Reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease: For decades, it has been well established that regular caffeine consumption offers dramatic protection from Parkinson’s disease. Harvard University researchers found that men who consumed the most caffeine and women who who drank one to three cups of coffee a day had 50 percent reduction in the risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease.
- Reduced risk of and reversal of senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: Caffeine’s potential protective effect against dementia and Alzheimer’s diseasehas been recognized by a raft of new studies over the past decade. Most recently, Swedish and Finnish researchers followed more than 1,400 men and women for 21 years and found that those who drank coffee during midlife – compared with those who didn’t – were less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. The lowest risk was found in people who consumed the caffeine contained in three to five cups of coffee a day.
Thank you for posting this article (regarding breast cancer). Too add a personal touch … I can say that my Finnish grandmother lived to 104 years of age. One of her hallmark habits was heavy coffee consumption. You rarely saw her without a cup of strong coffee in her hand, or nearby. She was a healthy woman.
Eventually, one’s body gives out . . . and late in her life, she did have a brush with breast cancer (which was quickly and fortunately easily resolved) . . . and dementia did knock on her door. Which is no great surprise at that age.
Now . . . I am the consumer . . . following in her footsteps. Not as a preventative of cancer , but for the enjoyment. If I get the extra benefit of prevention . . . then that is a significant bonus.
Thanks for the article. I have enjoyed perusing your website!
Thanks for your interesting story and favorable comments. I hope we will see more comments from you on our web site soon!
No doctor can ever prcdiet the future especially with cancers- though we are asked to do this every day.If she is old ( how old ?), she may die of natural causesbefore the breast cancer progresses to affect her health.I do not see why she would refuse a simple lumpectomy,but maybe she is very old.We have so little medical information here.Her doctor has all of her medical history and has examined her.That is the person to ask.I’ve seen people with advanced breast cancers live for many years.
It is no more a miracle drink than many many other teas.Most have anxiitodant propereties.Drink it if you like ir and when you are thirsty. It’s a good way of taking in fluids.That’s all!
Caffeine is a kind of miracle drug, a virtual panacea. Its antioxidant power, though great, is only one tiny example of it’s astonishing benefits to health.
Really? Is it that magical a drink? I’ve known coffee drinkers who weren’t all that lucky with the drink. How can it be that these studies were able to identify caffeine as the single component that gave the cancer cells the death blow? Is cancer that simple a disease? Or are there other components such as lifestyle habits, environmental factors, genetic makeup, diet etc.? Drinking lots of coffee is hard on the nervous system and has some really dangerous side effects. To me it’s too simplistic to say that if you drink lots of coffee, your chances of cancer will go down. What about the other factors? There are also instances of people who exercise, eat right, live temperate lives, don’t drink stimulants of any kind, don’t smoke and live healthy lives. Our society is so hungry to have someone tell us our use of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine are actually good for us that we swallow hook, line and sinker any report that does. Good health cannot come from bad dietary habits. How do you stay healthy? The old fashion way, no short cuts, no easy answers, you eat, drink and do what is healthy for your body. Caffeine is not on that list!
You seem very confused. Any food or drug can sometimes cause some problems for some people, and caffeine is no exception. We make it clear that people react to caffeine differently and that, if you are to use it effectively and safely, you have to know how it effects you.
All this aside, double-blind peer-reviewed studies of hundreds of thousands of people have proven that caffeine does, without question, reduce the incidence of a number of cancers. These studies consider and correct for dozens of miscellaneous factors. And no one said cancer is a simple disease. Of course many factors can contribute to developing cancer and can increase or decrease the chances of developing cancer. However, it has been scientifically proven that, all other things being equal, the consumption of caffeine definitely and without question reduces the odds of developing many cancers. I can’t imagine why you even mention nicotine, which has little if anything to do with cancer and nothing at all to do with caffeine. Health can be greatly improved by using caffeine and, in any case. caffeine is definitely not a bad dietary habit. If you don’t want to believe the many, many, many peer-reviewed longitudinal studies of hundreds of thousands of people, that is your privilege. But, to give another example, it is clear that, correcting for other variables, caffeine reduces cardiovascular pathologies and, as a matter of fact, this effect is caffeine’s greatest effect in lengthening life expectancy.
I’m sorry about the confusion in mentioning nicotine. I was just referring to it as an addictive stimulant that is prevalent in our society. I was not referring to it as a cancer fighting agent. I’m concerned about the side effects of an addictive stimulant on the nervous system and the overall health of the individual. You can’t tell me drinking 6 cups of coffee a day isn’t going to affect your health, especially your sleeping patterns. That’s no minor amount of caffeine. That’s a whopping amount of caffeine. I’d be crawling up the walls with that much caffeine and I’m 5’9, 190lbs. What I’m concerned about is that with any addictive drug, your body begins to crave more because the usual ‘hit’ eventually doesn’t give the usual ‘high’. People just end up drinking more and more. It becomes a vicious cycle and have you ever tried to get off coffee cold turkey? It’s a nightmare. There are definite withdrawal symptoms including the mind bending headaches and depression. If we want to reduce cancer in our society, this is not the answer. People have to change their lifestyle and their diets. Taking in more caffeine, as an answer, is too easy. It’s equivalent to the ‘magic pill’ that helps you lose weight.
I have to seriously disagree with your statement ‘caffeine is not a bad dietary habit’, Really? I have yet to see it on the ‘pyramid’. Do you allow your kids to drink the stuff as a ‘supplement’? You’ve mentioned all the studies that laud its ability to prevent cancer. What should we do with all the studies that point out the negative effects of caffeine including high blood pressure and insomnia. Should we just ignore those? You don’t have to be a scientist to see the actual effects of a ‘chronic caffeine junkie’. It’s a crutch and there is no way they can function without that ‘first cup’. I find the results of the studies disturbing at best, but that aside, assuming they are true, it’s my opinion that the detrimental side effects far out weigh the benefits of excessive caffeine intake.
Yes, caffeine certainly does affect your health. If you’ll look at our post “Caffeine: Unexplored Source of Pharmacological Treasures” (https://worldofcaffeine.com/2011/05/30/caffeine-unexplored-source-of-pharmacological-treasures/) you’ll find a number (although by no means all) of the health benefits that it can confer. So, six cups of coffee a day could indeed affect your health and could improve your health and your life expectancy considerably. (And caffeine definitely does not cause damaging high blood pressure, and, as I’ve noted already; in fact, proven again and in studies of hundreds of thousands of people over decades of observation, it is a real boon for cardiovascular health.)
You are very confused. Can caffeine cause insomnia? Definitely! However, it depends how you take it, how much you take, and how sensitive you are to it. Some people can drink a cup of strong coffee at midnight and fall asleep a half hour alter. Other people can’t sleep if they’ve consumed even a small cup of coffee in the morning. Who is right? The real question is: What is right for YOU! Obviously, the point is that you must learn how caffeine affects you if you are to use it successfully.
If you use caffeine intelligently and adjust your use to suit the way it affects you, caffeine simply has no bad effects at all. (The contrary studies you mention are bogus or simply don’t exist!) If you don’t know what you are doing and misuse caffeine– well, you can all kinds of problems. But the misuse of a drug should not be used as a reason to condemn a drug. Get this straight: Condemn ignorant misuse of caffeine. But recognize that used correctly by the vast majority of people,, those who can tolerate caffeine, caffeine is one of best and widely beneficial drugs you could ever take.
As far as stopping “cold turkey,” that is simply a bad joke. Many non-addictive drugs, like Prozac for example, create a tolerance and should be tapered off and stopped slowly. Caffeine has this effect on some people, so, obviously, if you are one of them, you should simply taper off its use over a few days in order to stop using it without discomfort. Simple and true!
You really don’t have a clear picture of caffeine and how it should be used successfully. Misusing anything causes trouble. But, when used wisely, few things can be used as beneficially, to your health, your mental and physical performance, and your mood as caffeine.
Ok, we agree to disagree. Time will tell. Let’s see if our society really benefits from more caffeine intake. It’s been an interesting debate. Thanks.