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Friday, February 10, 2012

Can Coffee Prevent Cancer?

Today's post was too good to pass up.  Or rather, not to pass-along.  It comes from my friend and holistic nutritionist, Karen Roth, MS, NC who does a feature on her website (and in mailings to her "community") every Thursday called Food for Thought Thursday in which she examines a food, nutrient, practice or other topic of interest to the holistic health community in a brief and always informative post-like the one below.  Karen maintains a clinical practice in the Los Angeles area with offices in both Santa Clarita and Encino, CA.  

Karen and I see eye-to-eye on many issues in the world of health, wellness and alternative medicine but this one is near and dear to my heart so I wanted to share it with you.  Although I am not one of those people who turns into a zombie if they don't have their morning coffee, I really do enjoy it.  If it seems as though research has coffee falling in and out of favor every month, here's your chance to catch up on the latest....

I admit it, I like coffee. But in recent years I have cut back and almost totally eliminated it from my daily routine. But I recently read an article by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen about the benefits of coffee that made me want to dig deeper into the research and make sure this was not just a sound bite. According to the article:

"In the war against cancer, caffeine may turn out to be one of the most beneficial, surprising weapons you never suspected. But with at least one type of cancer, even decaf coffee may be just as powerful as the caffeinated stuff."  Woo Hoo!

The article (Good News for Starbucks Lovers: Coffee May Prevent Cancer) stated that "coffee has been linked to lower rates of four kinds of cancer." Let's take a look.
  • Endometrial cancer. New research indicates that women who drink 4 or more cups of coffee are 25% less likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who don't finish even 1 cup. Reason: coffee has been reported to lower levels of estrogen and insulin, the two hormones implicated in endometrial carcinogenesis. GOOD News!
  • Prostate cancer. Prostate cancer despises coffee. The American Association for Cancer Research showed new data showing that both regular and decaf coffees are effective at reducing the risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancers. What they found was that men who drank the most coffee had a 60% lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men who did not drink any coffee. Reason: "Coffee has effects on insulin and glucose metabolism as well as sex hormones levels, all of which play a role in prostate cancer." (Said Kathryn M. Wilson, Ph.D. of Harvard Medical School). GOOD News!
  • Skin cancer. The highly prevalent UV-associated skin carcinomas may be shut down by coffee researchers say. Reason: It's unsure but thought that caffeine may suppress skin carcinogenesis. I'll take it!
  • Breast cancer. Women who drink lots of coffee also run significant lower risk in Estrogen Receptor Negative Breast Cancer  after menopause -- 20 to 50 percent lower versus women who have less than 1 cup a day. Decaf doesn't do it. Great news for post menopausal women! 

If you're a coffee drinker, you're thrilled right?  Yes, you should be!  Coffee may be beneficial to your health, but it's what you put in your coffee that may sabotage your good intentions.  Here's what you can do to further enhance your coffee consumption. 

  1. Buy organic coffee to avoid the pesticides used on these crops...pesticides can lead to cancer.
  2. If you use creamer, use real creamer from cows or coconut creamer. AVOID non dairy creamers, powder creamers (really think about it, powder cream?) And the hormones in regular milk are not beneficial in the fight against cancer, so buy organic milk or creamer or look for dairy products that "come from cows not treated with rBST or rBGH." 
  3. Do NOT use artificial sweeteners such as Saccharin (Sweet n Low), Aspartame (Equal, Nutra Sweet) or Sucralose (Splenda).  These chemicals are not good for you or other living things.
  4. For sweetener use Stevia, (powder or liquid) Xylitol, or Erythritol.  These are natural sweeteners that are not harmful to your health.
  5. And last if not least, if you rely on your coffee from a coffee shop, take in your own stainless steel mug with a BPA free plastic top. The plastic lids on the cups may leach harmful chemicals into you coffee.    
 Enjoy your coffee and all the health benefits it gives you.

Karen Roth, MS, NC helps women balance hormones naturally by helping them design effective nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Karen  is one of a growing number of international healthcare professionals who have been specially trained and certified in The Management of Menopause Type® Program, a holistic model that has benefited women for over 17 years. Visit Karen at


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