Today is National Coffee Day, the story goes that coffee beans were originally discovered centuries ago in Ethiopia. A goat farmer realized the energizing effects of these magical beans after his goats consumed the coffee beans from a coffee plant. With coffee being a big business it is estimated that 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day across the world.
There is so much coffee on-the-go around the world, it's important to consider some of the effects this caffeinated drink can have on the body. In recent years there has been a number of reviews assessing old and new theories about the benefits and potential negative effects of coffee consumption. Let's take a look at a few interesting studies that may shed some light.
In the past, certain observational studies linked coffee consumption to an increased risk for developing gastric cancers. However we all know correlation does not necessarily equal causation. In March 2015 the International Journal of Cancer published a study that examined the relative risk associated with caffeinated and decaffeinated tea and coffee intake in over 470,000 subjects over 11.5 years. They concluded that consumption of “total, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was not associated with an overall gastric cancer risk.”
Another meta analysis from the Asian Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition published earlier this year has reviewed 22 studies (majority being case-controlled and dose-dependent) and found that not only was there no increased risk but there may even be a reduced risk for gastric cancer. The paradigm is shifting away from coffee increasing risks for causing gastric cancer.
Further, when studied in many other cancers, coffee consumption has been found to sometimes reduce the risk for causing cancers. For example, higher caffeinated coffee intake was associated with a lower risk for postmenopausal breast cancer in European women (it is worth noting that decaffeinated coffee did not seem to significantly alter the risk). Similarly, endometrial cancer risk was reduced by 5-7% for every cup of coffee consumed.
With all this in mind we say go-ahead and grab that cup of Joe!
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