With so many proponents against coffee drinking for various reasons, it’s a wonder its use hasn’t been regulated like the use of alcohol and tobacco. However, research seems to be proving that drinking coffee actually has long term health benefits that make it in the best interest of many people to continue drinking coffee. Several members of the American Cancer Society have recently released early findings upon which they intend to base further studies.
For ages, you’ve probably heard that coffee drinking can ‘stunt your child’s growth’ due to caffeine content, or that it causes ulcers and other unhealthy side effects such as insomnia. However, most of the bad publicity around coffee is either hype and theory or simply short-term reactions based on personal health that could also be attributed to other factors.
Per a paper published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a new study shows positive effects of drinking coffee in relation to oral and pharyngeal cancer (mouth and throat cancer). While previous studies have shown that several habits and health issues lead to greater risk of developing these types of cancer, drinking coffee can significantly reduce that risk. The findings were clear, though more research is to be conducted. In the study, people who drank at least 4 cups of coffee a day had a 49% lower risk of developing oral or pharyngeal cancer.
One of the deadliest factors of these types of cancer is that the early symptoms are often ignored or misdiagnosed as a toothache, cold sore, or other phantom mouth pain. Therefore, it is rarely caught early enough to contain the damage and avoid fatality. This makes it one of the more deadly types of cancer. Finding preventative solutions can go a long way in reducing the occurrence of this type of cancer, which will lower the mortality rate.
While the biggest risk factors in developing mouth and throat cancer are alcohol use, tobacco use, and infection with the HPV (human papillomavirus), coffee drinking seems to be something of a deterrent. Data from the Cancer Prevention Study II and further research put together by this team of professionals leads to the conclusion (based on lifestyle and health information from 968,432 men and women) that, while a cup of coffee every day or occasionally won’t make a difference, those who drink 4 or more cups of coffee a day reduce their risk of developing throat or mouth cancer by half.
While this is by far no reason to suggest that everyone should take up coffee drinking on a regular basis, as such habits can lead to other health problems depending on your current state of health and other risk factors, it does show that those who are currently in the habit of drinking a great deal of coffee by no means need to stop. The link between coffee drinking and reduced risk was not affected by tobacco or alcohol use.
The belief is that not the caffeine but the loads of antioxidants, polyphenols, and several other cancer-preventing substances that are in coffee are the reason for this link. However, there was no significant reduction based on drinking non-caffeinated coffee or tea. Based on this, the researchers are hoping to recruit at least 300,000 people for a follow up study for more pointed information. However, for now, the moral of the story is that, if you are currently drinking large amounts of coffee every day with no negative health effects, then your benefits of coffee drinking probably outweigh any risks you may have.