Coffee either gets a bad rap for causing things like sleeplessness, high blood pressure, or diabetes, or is celebrated for its benefits (like reducing risk of disease, improving memory, and easing muscle pain). And now, two new cancer studies have added to the discussion of how much coffee is too much.
One study followed 5,929 Swedish women, half of whom had breast cancer, and found that those who drank more than five cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of developing estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer (a particularly aggressive type of the disease) by 33 to 57 percent compared to those who drank less than a cup.
Another study followed 48,000 Boston men for 12 years and found that those who drank six or more cups a day reduced their risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer by 60 percent and of developing any form of the cancer by 20 percent. The study even found a risk reduction in men who drank about three cups a day.
The authors of the Swedish study caution against changing your daily coffee-drinking habits just based on their research alone, so no one is recommending you start making hourly trips to Starbucks if you don't already do so. They do say, however, that they hope to do more research to find out what exactly is the cause. And it's important to note that the Harvard researchers in the Boston study think that antioxidants found in coffee and not caffeine are responsible for the effect, so you can get any potential anticancer benefits from decaf as well.
Do inconclusive coffee studies keep you from enjoying the beverage, or do you enjoy your java whether or not you hear about the negative or positive effects of your habit?