New research shows that coffee decreases the risk of some breast cancers.
If you’re a slave to your morning cup of coffee, new research shows that you don’t necessarily need to hang up the habit just yet. In fact, the data shows that postmenopausal women who drink coffee have a statistically significant reduced risk of developing estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer.[i]
This is not the first study to show that coffee may have a protective effect against cancer, which may seem surprising since coffee often gets a bad rap. It turns out that coffee drinkers have a lower incidence of breast cancer overall than those who abstain; however, when researchers really dug into the correlation and corrected for other lifestyle factors—such as weight, level of physical activity, family history, and age at menopause—the protective effect of coffee was only measurable for ER-negative breast cancer. The results of the study showed a modest decrease in overall breast cancer risk and a significant reduction in the risk of ER-negative breast cancer.
This doesn’t mean that postmenopausal women who want to avoid breast cancer need only to slurp coffee to avoid the disease. What it means is that if you tend to avoid indulging in coffee based on the perception that it could harm your health—you may be able to enjoy this simple pleasure without the extra helping of guilt.
It’s still important to maintain a healthy weight, stay physically active, eat a nutrient-dense diet, and avoid smoking; however, if you do all those things and still want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, it appears that you can do so without worry. The bottom line—balance is always best.
[i] Li J, Seibold P, Chang-Claude J, et al. Coffee consumption modifies risk of estrogen-receptor negative breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research, 2011; 13:R49 doi:10.1186/bcr2879
Tags: Nutritional Know-How