Posted on Sun, 19 Sep 10
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Along with their daily cup of coffee regular coffee drinkers may also enjoy a modest reduction in colorectal cancer risk.
A number of studies have investigated the association between coffee drinking and colorectal cancer risk with mixed results, some finding a reduction in cancer risk while others have found no relationship.
To help clarify the picture a review of 24 studies across 14 different countries was conducted (1). The report, published in the Journal Cancer Causes and Control, found that “the risk of colorectal cancer for regular coffee drinkers was approximately 17% lower than for non/occasional drinkers. The protection was about 30% for the highest coffee drinkers and 6% for an increase in consumption of one cup of coffee/day”
There are plausible reasons why coffee might reduce colorectal cancer risk. Like many plant foods coffee naturally contains phytochemicals that posses anticancer properties (2). Coffee may also improve bowel elimination thus reducing exposure to toxic substances in the gut (3).
1. Galeone C, et al. Coffee consumption and risk of colorectal cancer: a meta-analysis of case-control studies. Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Aug 1. [Epub ahead of print].
2. Cavin C, Holzhaeuser D, Scharf G, Constable A, Huber WW, Schilter B (2002). Cafestol and kahweol, two coffee specific diterpenes with anticarcinogenic activity. Food Chem Toxicol 40, 1155–1163.
3. Brown SR, Cann PA, Read NW. Effect of coffee on distal colon function. Gut. 1990;31(4):450–453.