Ask the Dietitians

Can Drinking Coffee Lower Your Risk of Cancer?

Pour another cup! A recent study links coffee consumption with lower risk of certain types of cancer.

Good news for coffee lovers: A 2016 study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that drinking coffee may decrease risk of colorectal cancer.

Participants who drank one to two servings a day saw a 26% decrease in risk while those who consumed more than 2½ servings a day experienced a 54% decrease in risk. The amount of caffeine didn’t seem to matter as researchers looked at all types of coffee consumed (including decaf). They speculated that coffee’s antioxidant polyphenols are to credit, as they may help limit growth of colon cancer cells. 

Additionally, a class of compounds in coffee called diterpenes may prevent cancer by protecting against oxidative damage. This research piggybacks on a 2015 study from Lund University that found that drinking at least 2 cups of coffee a day may protect against breast cancer and recurrence in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated with tamoxifen. 

So keep getting your coffee fix, but keep your consumption to between two and three servings per day.