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Coffee Associated With Lower Risk of Colon Cancer

A recent study suggests that drinking four to six cups of coffee per day may reduce the risk of colon cancer between 15 and 25%.

The researchers noted a 15% lower risk of colorectal cancer in the individuals who drank between four and five cups per day, compared to those who did not drink coffee. Participants who drank six or more cups per day had a 24% lower risk.

The large study included 489,706 individuals who were a part of the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. The participants completed food and lifestyle questionnaires and then the researchers followed up for an average of 10.5 years.

Decaffeinated coffee imparted some beneficial effect but not as strong as caffeinated coffee. Tea had no observable effect.

The researchers recommend further studies be done to determine the specific chemicals in coffee that are responsible for the protective effect.

The study was conducted at the US National Cancer Research Institute and was published in the August 2012 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Beyond colorectal health, coffee has been shown to have a number of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of developing diabetes, prostate cancer, cirrhosis and oral cavities. These benefits are generally attributed to the powerful antioxidants found in coffee called polyphenols

One note to coffee drinkers: be careful how you take your coffee. A double latte with whipped cream and three sugars may provide the cognitive health benefits seen here, but the high fat and sugar content can have other negative effects.

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