Nearly every month another study on coffee comes out, usually suggesting potential benefits. Here are some of the latest:
Life expectancy. Women who drank at least two cups of regular or decaf coffee a day were about 15 percent less likely to die over a 14-year period than nondrinkers, and men were 10 percent less likely, according to the large National Institutes of Health (NIH)/AARP Diet and Health Study of people age 50 to 71, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Reductions were seen in deaths from diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, strokes, infections and accidents.
Colon cancer. People who drank at least four cups of regular or decaf coffee a day were 15 percent less likely to develop colon cancer over a decade than nondrinkers, according to another analysis from the NIH/AARP study, this one published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Decaf also seemed to reduce the risk of rectal cancer; tea had no effect at all. Coffee contains many compounds that may affect cancer risk, for better or worse.
Skin cancer. Coffee may help prevent basal cell carcinoma, the most common and least dangerous form of skin cancer, suggests a large Harvard study of healthcare professionals, published in Cancer Research. Those who drank three or more cups of regular coffee a day were about 15 percent less likely to develop this cancer over 20 years than those who drank little or none; women appeared to benefit more than men. Decaf did not reduce the risk, but other sources of caffeine, such as chocolate, tea, and cola, also seemed beneficial. There was no association with other forms of skin cancer.
Heart failure. Moderate coffee consumption (two to four cups a day) may reduce the risk of heart failure by 10 percent, according to an analysis of five studies, most from Sweden, published in Circulation: Heart Failure. Higher intakes were not beneficial.