The health benefits of coffee are becoming more and more well-known, making it seem wise to have a cup of Joe every so often even if you aren’t a huge fan.
This may be the case for women in particular; new research suggests drinking coffee can reduce endometrial cancer risk by a fifth.
Endometrial cancer, cancer that starts in the endometrium, or inner lining of the uterus, affects more than 50,000 women annually. The American Cancer Society indicates most cases are diagnosed in women over the age of 55, and while this cancer is slightly more common in non-Hispanic white women, African American women are more likely to die from it.
There are no definitive causes of endometrial cancer, but certain factors do affect risk.
One of those factors–diet–is what experts were looking at when they cam across the coffee discovery. Researchers from Imperial College London in the UK pulled data from 1800 females participating in either the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study or the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS). These women were evaluated for consumption of nine foods or nutrients associated with risk (increased or decreased) of endometrial cancer, including: total fat, monounsaturated fat, phosphorus, carbohydrates, yogurt, butter, potatoes, cheese and coffee.
When it came to coffee, participants from both studies showed 3-4 cups of coffee a day could decrease a woman’s risk for endometrial cancer by up to 19 percent. Other nutrients were initially found to affect endometrial cancer risk as well; however, those results were deemed insignificant because they were not universal findings in both studies. Only coffee was shown to reduce risk at an almost identical rate among participants.
“Coffee intake is worth investigating further to see if coffee can be used for the prevention of endometrial cancer,” stated researchers, as reported by MNT. “However, before clinical recommendations can be made, further studies are needed to evaluate this question in other studies and to try to isolate the components of coffee that may be responsible for any influence on endometrial cancer.”
Isolating the exact compounds that reduce endometrial cancer risk may be difficult. The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) states: “Coffee contains a tremendous number of chemicals, with over 1000 aroma compounds. If you are looking for antioxidants, the most abundant phenolic compounds in coffee are chlorogenic acids (CGAs), which account for up to 12 per cent of the dry weight of green unroasted coffee beans.”
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The RSC explains even more compounds are created when coffee beans are roasted, generating antioxidant polymers called melanoidins.
There are so many compounds in coffee research has only begun to scratch the surface of its benefits–and negative effects. Because of this, experts recommend that coffee drinkers keep doing what they are doing rather than increasing their intake.
Just as coffee can benefit the body, it may also be causing side-effects that are undesirable and yet undiscovered.