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The 1 Diet Drink That Also Fights and Prevents Prostate Cancer

By on August 29, 2013
It’s America’s number one beverage, and for good reason: As well as containing enough caffeine to wake anyone up, coffee also contains compounds that can help people lose weight.

But it’s this diet drink’s effect on cancer that has experts intrigued.

“Bioactive compounds found in coffee and tea may delay the progression of prostate cancer,” say researchers, whose study was reported in the online version of Cancer Causes & Control, a medical journal. “Results indicate that higher pre-diagnostic coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer recurrence/progression.”

The study, which was conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA., found that men who drank four or more cups of coffee per day were 59 percent less likely to experience a prostate cancer recurrence compared to those who opted for a few cups of coffee instead. Men who also upped their coffee consumption also fared better when it came to the progression of prostate cancer, meaning it may be useful for both preventing and fighting this deadly disease.

When they examined the effects of tea on a man’s cancer prognosis, however, the results weren’t as positive; in fact, it seemed to do nothing at all to fight prostate cancer.

“To our knowledge, our study is the first to investigate the potential association between tea consumption and prostate cancer outcomes,” writes the authors of the study. “It is important to note, however, that few patients in our cohort were regular tea drinkers and the highest category of tea consumption was one or more cups per day. The association should be investigated in future studies that have access to larger populations with higher levels of tea consumption.”

Details of the Study

Examining more than 1,000 prostate cancer survivors between the ages of 35 to 74, researchers examined the diet and beverage intake prior to their prostate cancer diagnosis. Most men received their diagnosis between 2002 and 2005. Researchers examined their intake by quizzing and interviewing them about their eating habits, and were also screened about use of any medications and other factors that could influence the risk of prostate cancer.

Five years after their diagnosis, researchers then followed up with the men to see if the cancer had progressed. Of the over 1,000 men interviewed during the start of the study, over 800 had died.

“Our study differs from previous ones because we used a composite definition of prostate cancer recurrence/progression,” says Milan Geybels, one of the study’s authors and doctoral student at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. “We used detailed information on follow-up prostate-specific antigen levels, use of secondary treatment for prostate cancer and data from scans and biopsies to assess occurrence of metastases and cause-specific mortality during follow up.”

At the end of the study, however, researchers discovered something remarkable: Men who consumed the highest amounts of coffee were significantly less likely to suffer from progressed prostate cancer or experience a recurrence of cancer. Those who kept their coffee intake low, however, didn’t fare as well.

So What Does This Mean for Me?

If you’re at risk for prostate cancer–or perhaps you’ve recently recovered from the disease–then it may be worth it to increase your coffee intake. However, it’s not advised for all men, says Geybels.

“Although coffee is a commonly consumed beverage, we have to point out that increasing one’s coffee intake may be harmful for some men,” says Geybels. “For instance, men with hypertension may be vulnerable to the adverse effects of caffeine in coffee.”

Bottom line? If you already have a good coffee habit, then now’s not the time to quit–but if you have a health condition that could be adversely affected by a sudden surge in coffee intake, it’s best to find other health measures that may prevent a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Readers: Do you drink coffee? Why or why not?

Sources:
Coffee May Keep Prostate Cancer AwayFHCRC.org
(Study) Coffee Lowers Risk of Prostate CancerLink.Springer.com

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