Whether it’s regular or decaf, coffee appears to lower a man’s risk of developing a deadly form of prostate cancer according to Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute researchers examined whether coffee could lower the risk of aggressive prostate cancer which causes death or spreads to the bones.
Among U.S. men, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death, affecting one in six men during their lifetime. More than 2 million men in the U.S. and 16 million men worldwide are prostate cancer survivors.
The Harvard researchers chose to study coffee because it contains many beneficial compounds that act as antioxidants, reduce inflammation, and regulate insulin, all of which may influence prostate cancer. Coffee has also been associated in prior studies with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, gallstone disease, and liver cancer or cirrhosis.
The study examined the association between coffee consumption and the risk of prostate cancer, particularly the risk for aggressive prostate cancer among 47,911 U.S. men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The participants reported their coffee consumption every four years from 1986 to 2008.
The researchers reported
- Men who consumed the most coffee (six or more cups daily) had nearly a 20% lower risk of developing any form of prostate cancer.
- The association was even stronger for aggressive prostate cancer. Men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of developing lethal prostate cancer.
- Even drinking one to three cups of coffee per day was associated with a 30% lower risk of lethal prostate cancer.
- The reduction in risk was seen whether the men drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, and does not appear to be due to caffeine.
But don’t use coffee as an excuse to drink cream or milk. According to Dr. Walter Willett, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, the evidence is quite strong that high dairy consumption is related to fatal prostate cancer. In fact, men who follow the USDA dietary guidelines and consume 3 servings of dairy per day have 2.4 times the risk of fatal prostate cancer. He recommends no more than 1 to 2 servings per day based on the scientific evidence.
Also, don’t forget to buy organic, fairly-traded coffee whenever possible. And, if you are buying decaffeinated, make sure it was produced without chemical solvents, as occurs through the water and supercritical (CO2) extraction processes.
Simple dietary tips for prostate health
Diet and exercise are believed to slow prostate cancer by up to 30% and a diet low in fat and processed meat but high in fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent the disease.
One meta-analysis of dietary studies and prostate cancer conducted by Australian researchers found that consumption of tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, green tea, soy, Vitamin E, oily fish (such as wild salmon) and selenium seemed to decrease the risk of prostate cancer. The study also found that highly processed or charcoaled meats seemed to increase the risk as did calcium and dairy products.
GreenMedInfo.com also contains an extensive list of evidence-based anti-prostate cancer strategies: Prostate Cancer
Now you can add coffee to the list of foods that support prostate health.
Margie King is a holistic health coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition®. A Wharton M.B.A. and practicing corporate attorney for 20 years, Margie left the world of business to pursue her passion for all things nutritious. She now works with midlife women and busy professionals to improve their health, energy and happiness through individual and group coaching, as well as webinars, workshops and cooking classes. She is also a professional copywriter and prolific health and nutrition writer whose work appears as the National Nutrition Examiner. To contact Margie, visit www.NourishingMenopause.com.