Could Drinking Coffee Help Prevent Prostate Cancer?

A cup of coffee may do more for men than perk them up in the morning—it could save their life.

A new study of nearly 48,000 men, conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that the more coffee men drank, the less likely they were to get prostate cancer.

Men who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day were 60 percent less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer than men who abstained from drinking java. The same group of heavy Joe drinkers was 20 percent less likely to develop any form of the cancer.

Luckily for those who fear they’d be awake until 2014 if they drank six cups of coffee a day, researchers found that even a little bit of coffee was helpful. Men who drank between one and three cups per day had a 30 percent lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.

Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the coffee consumed is caffeinated or decaf. Study authors surmise that the protective effect must come from other components of coffee. It could be coffee’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, in addition to substances that help regulate insulin levels, that help protect against cancer, researchers wrote.

Coffee has previously been found to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, Parkinson’s disease, and liver cancer.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among American men, after lung cancer.

Sources: WebMD, BBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, Huffington Post, MSNBC

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