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AICR Health Talk

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND
American Institute for Cancer Research

Q: Are the claims true that coffee is really healthy?

A: Evidence now shows that coffee in moderate amounts is linked with lower risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s and some cancers. For example, coffee lowers risk of endometrial and liver cancer risk, according to the latest scientific reports from AICR/WCRF. Research also links coffee to lower risk of death from heart disease and longer overall survival.

For endometrial cancer, risk was lower regardless of whether coffee was regular or decaffeinated; findings on other cancers aren’t clear on the influence of choosing regular or decaf. Some of the substances in coffee that may protect health and reduce cancer risk include chlorogenic acids, caffeoylquininic acid and lignans. In laboratory tests, these compounds seem to turn on the antioxidant defense system and enzymes that deactivate carcinogens, and reduce inflammation and insulin resistance. This would promote healthy levels of hormones related to cancer and other chronic diseases.

Studies looking at different brewing methods for preparing coffee so far do not provide consistent answers about whether those choices influence the protective effects of coffee. Since many aspects of health linked with coffee are worsened by excess weight, watch out for sugar, syrups and cream added to coffee. Select low-calorie coffee options that replace high-calorie drinks to help reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Learn more from AICR's Foods that Fight Cancer: Coffee

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed over $105 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRF).

Published on 03/14/2016

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