November 28, 2011
by Drucilla Dyess, November 28, 2011
Women who appreciate their morning cup of java have yet another reason to continue indulging. Harvard researchers have discovered that coffee consumption can cut the risk for developing endometrial cancer by as much as 25 percent. The details of the study were recently published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
The study adds to the fast-mounting evidence that the health benefits of drinking coffee far outweigh the risks posed by downing the miraculous, golden nectar.
While too much coffee can lead to nervous jitters and heart palpatations for some, previous studies have shown the powers of the almighty coffee bean help protect against a growing number of maladies including brain tumors, multiple schlerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, research has shown that women who drink a moderate amount of coffee can expect to lower their chances of gout, depression, stroke, and certain types of breast cancer.
Endometrial cancer forms in the tissue that lines the uterus, where a fetus develops. The majority of endometrial cancers develop in the cells that make and release mucus and other fluids, known as adenocarcinomas. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, an estimated 46,470 new cases of endometrial cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States alone, with 8,120 women losing their lives to the disease.
For their study, Harvard School of Public Health researchers analyzed data on 67,470 women who were a part of the Nurses’ Health Study. Findings showed that over the 26-year study period, a total of 627 cases of endometrial cancer occurred among the study participants. However, women who consumed four or more cups of coffee daily were shown to have reduce their risk for developing the disease by 25 percent when compared to those who drank an average of less than one cup per day. Women who drank two to three cups of java a day had a seven percent reduction in risk.
The results remained true even for the few women in the study who preferred drinking decaffeinated coffee versus caffeinated, although the association was not quite as strong for those who consumed decaf.
This could be due to the small number of study participants who consumed the decafeinated version. No such health benefit was revealed for caffeinated tea drinkers during the study.
The reasoning behind the apparent disease-preventing properties of coffee is believed to be associated with how the substance alters the function of estrogen and insulin in the body, since both are linked to the risk of chronic disease.
While the study authors acknowledge that the best defense against endometrial cancer includes getting a sufficient amount of exercise and keeping body weight in check, they noted that drinking a moderate amount of coffee may provide a beneficial health boost. However, they warned that the addition of cream and sugar to coffee could go a long way to negate the positive effects.