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Coffee reduces risk of colon cancer, says study

Update Date: Apr 03, 2016 11:53 AM EDT

A new study suggests that drinking coffee-- because of its many antioxidants--can reduce risk of colon cancer by as much as 50 percent.

The study's team that included researchers at the University of Southern California's Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center noted that the protective element is not caffeine, per se, but the many other antioxidant ingredients of the drink.  

Caffeine and polyphenol, which both act as antioxidants, limit the potential growth of cancer cells. Diterpenes enhance the body's defenses against oxidative damage, which may contribute to cancer prevention, and some say melanoidins, generated during coffee's roasting process, may encourage colon mobility, Medical Daily reported.

First author Dr. Stephanie Schmit, said that the beneficial compounds per serving of coffee may vary depending on the bean, roast and brewing method. "The good news is that our data presents a decreased risk of colorectal cancer regardless of what flavor or form of coffee you prefer," she quipped.

Thus it makes no difference whether the coffee is regular or decaf, and that the more coffee is drank, the more it may reduce the risk, according to a CBS News report.

The study, published April 1 in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. indicated that drinking a cup or two a day was linked to a 26 percent reduced risk of colon , and that having more than 2.5 cups, the risk was reduced by as much as 50 percent.

Dr. Gad Rennert, senior researcher and director of the Clalit National Israeli Cancer Control Center in Haifa, Israel, saids that "probably" a lot of other antioxidant ingredients in the coffee that are released in the roasting process

Rennert added that the findings can't prove that coffee reduces the risk of colon cancer, only that coffee is associated with a reduced risk. However, the association appears strong, he emphasized.

Data was collecetd on more than 5,100 men and women in northern Israel who were diagnosed with colon cancer and compared with more than 4,000 men and women with no history of colon cancer.
The participants reported the amount of coffee they drank, including espresso, instant, decaffeinated and filtered coffee, and risk factors for colon cancer, such as family history, diet, physical activity and smoking.

Susan Gapstur, the vice president for epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, said that studies that collect information on dietary factors followed by a monitoring to determine develops cancer, do not tend to show a significantly lower risk of colon cancer in coffee drinkers compared with nondrinkers.

The findings of this study, Gapstur said, should be interpreted with caution." 

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