Cancer is one of the most frightening and pervasive diseases worldwide. Amazingly, coffee is turning out to be one of the most easily accessible tools to fight it. Compounds in coffee that might alter cancer’s progression and effects include chlorogenic acids (CGAs), diterpenes, and yes, even caffeine.
“The associations between coffee consumption and risks of several disease outcomes have been investigated. Coffee consumption has been inversely associated with risks of type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, lethal prostate cancer, basal cell carcinoma of the skin, endometrial cancer, and neurological diseases as well as with risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) when consumed in moderation. “** — The study protocol was approved by the institutional review boards of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health.
**Moderation is defined here as 3–5 cups
Overcoming the Myths about Coffee and Cancer
Back in the 1950s, researchers named coffee as the cause of multiple diseases, including several types of cancer. Thousands of studies later, the results say something else entirely. Multiple studies have proven coffee’s amazing cancer-fighting qualities. It can reduce the chances of liver cancer by 40%, prostate cancer by 15%, and breast cancer by an impressive 50%. Most of the time, coffee either has a major anticarcinogenic effect, or else neither increases nor decreases cancer growth.
When people follow the logic that correlation is equal to causation it can lead to the wrong conclusions. Fortunately, researchers actively investigate whether coffee is cancer-causing or cancer-inhibiting in situations where it may seem like the enemy. For example, Bidel et al. analyzed Finnish people for coffee intake and gastric and pancreatic cancers. Finland has a higher rate of gastric and pancreatic cancers than other Scandinavian countries and also has the highest rate of coffee intake in the world. To see whether coffee was a culprit, a cohort study of over 60,000 men and women between 26 and 74 years old were surveyed over the course of 18 years. In the end, there was no significant difference in rates of gastric/pancreatic cancers between different levels of coffee intake.
For a while, many scientists were concerned about esophageal cancer rates in relation to cancer. While coffee did correlate with esophageal cancer, hot tea did as well. So as not to fall into the correlation equals causation trap, researchers eventually discovered the third factor. In this case, esophageal cancer rates are actually linked to whether the hot tea and coffee is too hot. So don’t waste the benefits of your coffee by drinking it too hot. (Also important to note: there are no toxins in Purity Coffee that would need to be burned out by high temperatures–enjoy it at a pleasant, warm temperature).
Coffee the Cancer Fighter
Now that we’ve looked out what coffee doesn’t hurt, we can look at the cancers that coffee definitely helps fight.
Coffee’s liver cancer fighting ability is a contender for most impressive. Liver cancer can develop from both alcoholic and non-alcoholic liver disease, and kills about 1 million people every year. Shimazue et al. conducted a study in Japan, where liver cancer is the most prominent type, examining the effects of coffee consumption on primary liver cancer (rather than cancer that metastasizes to the liver from somewhere else). In a survey of thousands of Japanese people, they discovered that the most impressive cancer-fighting effects of coffee were found in people who already had some form of liver disease. This is especially good news for people who are at the most risk for liver cancer.
We can see a similar effect on prostate cancer. While coffee is mostly neutral when it comes to overall prostate cancer prevention, it is noticeably effective in preventing aggressive prostate cancer. Shafique et al.’s 2012 study found that men who consumed 3 or more cups per day had a 55% lower chance of a high Gleason score, indicating more aggressive prostate cancer.
Risk of colorectal cancer is also greatly reduced. Researchers in a study conducted by Vitaglione et al. speculated that “antioxidant dietary fiber” in coffee was the most effective player in the fight against colorectal cancer and the prevention of the colon diseases that precede them. “Coffee antioxidant dietary fiber may reduce, through several mechanisms, the inflammation in colon mucosa, thus directly reducing CRC risk.” The researchers discovered that people who drank more coffee also eliminated (through the digestive system) more carcinogens than those who didn’t.
These are only a few examples of how coffee fights cancer, and there are multiple studies proving preventative effects for many of the disease’s forms. A 2011 Brazilian Study observed a significant protective effect against oral and oropharyngeal cancer. Coffee has a major preventive effect against breast cancer as well. The list goes on.
What’s the Secret Anti-cancer Ingredient?
Coffee contains a number of different compounds that may come into play, either on their own or all together, against cancer. Coffee has a number of compounds that have either been proven to be or show evidence of being anti-cancer, “could alter cancer risk through several biological mechanisms”.
To start with, coffee contains diterpenes, and the most prominent are cafestol and kahweol. According to Shimazu, diterpenes “have been implicated in anticarcinogenic activity.” They’re known to spur biochemical processes in the body that specifically act against dangerous carcinogens in the body and neutralize their dangerous effects.
Even the sometimes-maligned caffeine has been observed to have anti-cancer qualities, specifically contributing to DNA repair. Telomeres in DNA can shorten as they become damaged, and this can lead to cancer. Caffeine helps prevent these cancerous effects by attending to that damage. Horrigan et al. found in their 2006 study that caffeine also has “anti-inflammatory qualities.” As evidence, their report cites studies done on rats suffering from toxic shock and hepatitis, and found that caffeine had a visible anti-inflammatory effect. Fortunately, as they point out, normal “doses relevant to coffee drinkers” can create these positive health effects.
Last, but certainly not least, are chlorogenic acids (also known as CGAs). CGAs are a form of antioxidant that is especially good at getting rid of the body’s free radicals. Free radicals oxidize and weaken cell membranes, damaging DNA and creating inflammation. Inflammation has long been tied to cancer, with chronic inflammation and damaged tissue encouraging the growth of tumors. Nkondjock also ties CGAs effects on insulin sensitivity to cancer risk and comments how it reduces glucose concentration in rats. People with higher concentrations of glucose in their systems are more susceptible to insulin insensitivity and metabolic syndrome. CGAs have incredible anti-inflammatory effects and are known to fight metabolic syndrome. Their antioxidant qualities repair DNA, and scavenge the free-radicals that injure cell membranes and encourage inflammation.
Coffee can be a potent anticancer when combined with a lifestyle that eschews smoking, encourages nourishing organic foods, and all but eliminates alcohol and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Even more impressive is coffee’s ability to slow (or stop) the progression and extremeness of some types of cancers. Whether you are currently healthy or struggling with some illness, coffee’s anticancer properties are great news for everyone. An even better preventative tactic is drinking a coffee free of toxins and roasted specifically with a high antioxidant level as the goal. Let Purity Coffee be one of your tools to live cancer free.
AICR foods that fight cancer: Coffee
Bidel et al., “Coffee consumption and risk of gastric and pancreatic cancer—A prospective cohort study” International Journal of Cancer, 2012.
Sharp et al., “Risk Factors for squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus in women: a case-control study.” British Journal of Cancer. 2008.
Shafique et al., “Coffee consumption and prostate cancer risk: further evidence for inverse relationship.” Nutritional Journal. 2012.
Vitaglione et al., “Coffee, colon function and colorectal cancer” Food and Function. 2012.
Nkondjock, 2008, Coffee Consumption and the Risk of Cancer: An Overview Research Center for Military Health, Cameroon
Shimazu et al., “Coffee consumption and the risk of primary liver cancer: Pooled analysis of two prospective studies in Japan.” 2005.
Horrigan et al. “Immunomodulatory effects of caffeine: Friend or foe?” Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2006