Some people can’t face the day before their first cup of coffee. It turns out that your mug of joe might offer more benefits than just a morning jolt. Several studies suggest that coffee may lower a man’s odds of getting prostate cancer.
In one study, men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee each day had their chance of prostate cancer cut by almost 20%. Interestingly, it didn’t matter whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.
What’s more, the benefit appears to be even bigger for lethal prostate cancer. Men who drank 6 or more cups of coffee had their chances of that cut by almost 60%.
But you don’t have to drink java all the time to see an upside. One to 3 cups a day can lower your odds of aggressive prostate cancer by nearly a third -- no matter what your health condition is.
If you have or used to have prostate cancer, the news could be good for you, too. Researchers also found that 4 or more cups of coffee a day may help delay the disease's progression. It could also keep prostate cancer from coming back.
How Does Coffee Help?
We aren’t exactly sure why this popular drink seems to lower chances of certain types of prostate cancer. We do know that coffee has hundreds of active ingredients that can help your health. For example, it's rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols. Some of these compounds may prevent damage to your cells and ease inflammation.
Scientists did identify two possible contenders for coffee’s cancer-fighting abilities: kahweol acetate and cafestol. These compounds slowed the growth of prostate cancer cells in a recent study.
This may explain why men who drink boiled coffee have lower odds of prostate cancer compared to men who drink filtered coffee. Paper filters trap kahweal acetate and cafestol. Since boiled coffee doesn't need a filter, the compounds stay in your cup.
Not So Fast
The findings are promising, but we more studies. The current research shows a relationship between coffee consumption and a lower chance of prostate cancer. But they don't prove that drinking coffee can prevent prostate cancer. Clinical trials can test that.
Plus, there are downsides if you have too much coffee. More than 4 cups a day might give you:
Keep in mind that a cup is 8 ounces. Most coffeehouses give you much more than that, as do those giant mugs you might have at home.
Some people may be more sensitive to caffeine, too. Pay attention to how your body reacts to your daily brew. Cut back if you find coffee gives you the jitters or keeps you up at night.