Italian researchers have published a study with the International Journal of Cancer which posits that drinking three cups of espresso could dramatically slash the risk of prostate cancer.
As The Spectator reports, the researchers examined 7,000 men living in the central Italian region of Molise over a four-year period. After comparing prostate cancer rates, they found that individuals who drank three or more cups of espresso per day were 53 percent less likely to have the disease than those who drank two or fewer cups.
Furthermore, the scientists took extracts of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and tested them on prostate cancer cells in a laboratory. They found that caffeinated extracts outright reduced cancer cell metastasis while decaffeinated extracts did not.
While these study’s results are certainly interesting, the Italian researchers noted several factors which make it too soon to celebrate. For one, the men drank espressos in the traditional Italian way, which uses in the researchers’ words “high pressure, very high water temperature and with no filters.” This means that these results may not apply to normal American drip-brewed coffee, never mind the differences between American and Italian-style espressos.
Furthermore, this study was a self-reported survey of Italian espresso drinking habits rather than a more formal test which would hopefully be able to check for other factors. While these results are certainly encouraging, more studies will be needed to see if espressos or perhaps just caffeine in general can slow the spread of cancer.
Changing Health Perception of Coffee
If you want to reduce the risk of cancer, there are better methods than to head to Starbucks and grab three espressos. But studies like these are a sign of how we are more positive about coffee’s health effects than in the past 10 to 20 years.
There is no doubt that excessive coffee consumption can cause negative side effects such as insomnia and migraines. But in moderation, coffee could help fight health problems such as other forms of cancer, stroke, and dementia. Coffee contains antioxidants and other nutrients which are good for the human body, and health researchers today are studying to see what other conditions coffee could help fight.
As for prostate cancer, a 2011 American study similar to the aforementioned Italian study had also found that men who consumed more coffee “had a lower adjusted relative risk for overall prostate cancer compared with nondrinkers.”
If coffee can help fight prostate cancer, it would be a major victory against a disease which claims over 25,000 lives in the United States every year. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer for men after skin cancer, with black men at greater risk. Doctors do note that a healthy lifestyle in general and less meat and tobacco consumption in particular can prevent the disease, but scientists are still looking for a cure.
It may be too soon to definitively declare that coffee can fight prostate cancer, but it is becoming clearer that coffee can generally improve your health. So get yourself some proper Italian-style espresso and perk yourself up with caffeine and this piece of good news.