Some new research suggests that coffee, once maligned as bad for you, is now being found to be good for you.
Yes, you can refill your cup.
A study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that coffee consumption (6 cups a day) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men. A Swedish study in Breast Cancer Research found that drinking coffee (5 or more cups a day) could lower the risk of post-menopausal, ER-negative breast cancer.
Granted, these findings occurred in participants who drank quite a few cups of coffee, and the results need to be replicated. Reflecting on this change in coffee from health hazard to “good for your health,” Lane Wallace notes in The Atlantic that the Harvard researchers pointed out that excessive coffee consumption has “traditionally been associated with other high-health-risk habits — e.g. drinking more alcohol, smoking, and not exercising,” with the result that the extent to which coffee might benefit your health has been hard to discern.
Wallace also observes that coffee is not the only item that has gone from being thought bad to good (or the reverse) for your health in recent years. From the Atlantic:
Eggs were bad, and then good. The big benefits of soy milk are now suspect, even as coffee is seeing a reprieve. Drinking alcohol is a health risk, but drinking a moderate amount of red wine is good for your heart. On the other hand, a 2002 study by Spanish researchers found that people who drank more than two glasses of wine a day had a dramatically reduced risk of getting a cold. The head could spin, trying to keep up with it all.
Given all of that, I asked the Harvard team what advice they had for the average person, based on their research results.
“I wouldn’t recommend that men change their coffee consumption based on this study (or any single study),” [Kathryn' Wilson [one of the Harvard researchers] answered. “[But] I think this study is part of mounting evidence that you don’t need to feel guilty about your current coffee consumption.”
Perhaps the takeaway lesson is, all things in moderation?
(Except maybe anything that’s deep-fried.)
Photo by chichacha