And so what's my take on coffee? There are certainly other studies that suggest that coffee/tea consumption reduces the risk of certain cancers (ie. invasive prostate and breast) (3,4). These studies do show statistically significant reductions, which means there is less of a possibility that the reduction was due to chance, but the reductions are low overall. None of them have looked at why this relationship may occur and if there are any other factors involved, though some suggested the benefit was independent of caffeine content. We do know that there are a lot of compounds in coffee and tea. There are some like bioflavenoids and antioxidants that have been otherwise shown to have benefits for overall health and cancer risks. Could that be why? Of course! Could it be something totally different? Absolutely. For example, is it possible that taking time in the morning to sit and drink your coffee or taking a coffee break in the day helps with stress reduction and that's the reason for the benefit? Very possible, but right now, who knows?
So what do I say when someone asks me if I'm worried about their coffee intake? As always, I ask a tonne of questions like: how much do you drink, how much water are your drinking, why are you drinking it and how. If people are sitting and enjoying their coffee ritual in the morning or drinking it while socializing with friends, my assessment is that its helping their quality of life and not to worry. If its a compulsive or mindless experience (as in they just keep filling their cup with coffee and that's just what they drink) or if its needed for energy, maybe we need to address that need or make healthier substitutions. But do I think coffee is an absolute poison? No. And do I think we all need to drink 2 cups to live longer? No, I don't think there is near enough information to make that recommendation.
Today's prescription: Sit and relax for a few. Maybe enjoy a cup of coffee or tea or the flowers outside, but enjoy!
(1) Crowe, Kelly. "What's the fuss about coffee?" CBC news. May 17'12.