Coffee May Lower Skin Cancer Risk
A few cups of coffee each day may have a powerful effect—preventing the most common type of skin cancer, according to a new findings unveiled at a conference on Monday. Researchers analyzed data from 113,000 adults and found that after 20 years, women who drank three daily cups of Joe lowered their risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by 20 percent, compared with those who drank less than one cup a month. For men, the reduced risk was 9 percent. Because researchers didn't find the same association with decaf coffee, they speculate the protective effect is due to caffeine. "Our study indicates that coffee consumption may be an important option to help prevent basal cell carcinoma," researcher Fengju Song, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, told HealthDay. The caveats: The study is preliminary, and researchers haven't definitively proven that coffee thwarts skin cancer.
Is Coffee Bad for You? Actually, Drinking Coffee May Be Good for You
Coffee may have other benefits, too, U.S. News reported in 2009. It's believed to improve mood, alertness, and energy. But is coffee bad for you? Despite past concerns about coffee, tea, and other sources of caffeine being detrimental to health, recent research suggests that regular coffee consumption may reduce the risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and liver cancer—and regular coffee drinkers might even live longer. "For most people [who] choose to drink coffee, the benefits probably outweigh the risks," says Donald Hensrud, chair of the division of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
"In the past, a lot of people have tried to improve their health by cutting down on coffee," says Rob M. van Dam, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. But that's probably an unnecessary sacrifice. Although experts once thought caffeine was harmful, recent "studies have been largely reassuring," he says. In the past, it has been hard to differentiate the health effects of coffee versus those tied to smoking cigarettes, since heavy coffee drinkers are more likely to smoke than other people. [Read more: Is Coffee Bad for You? Actually, Drinking Coffee May Be Good for You.]
How Coffee Can Energize Your Workout
Gym bag, check. Car keys, check. Coffee downed, check. Yes, a caffeine kick could be a valuable addition to your pre-exercise routine, delaying muscle fatigue and keeping you focused and energetic. You don't want to overdo it, though. Sleep problems, headaches, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or maybe even a heart attack can result. Here's how to work caffeine into your workouts, U.S. News reported in 2010.
Match the amount to your body. "The larger you are, the more metabolically active tissue you have," says Nicholas Gant, director of the Exercise Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "If you're a small person, your tissues don't use up as much, therefore you need a lesser dose." A very rough recommendation is 0.5 to 1.4 milligrams of caffeine per pound of body weight. Coffee averages about 20 mg per ounce, or 160 mg per 8-ounce cup. That's about the limit for a 130-pound woman, though a 200-pound man could probably down a couple of cups. Go above 4 mg of caffeine per pound and your workout could be ruined by digestive distress, the jitters, and other unpleasant side effects. [Read more: How Coffee Can Energize Your Workout.]
Popular Health Articles from USNews.com
- How to Find the Right Doctor
- How to Stay on a Diet to Lose or Maintain Weight
- HCG Diet Dangers: Is Fast Weight Loss Worth the Risk?
- To Fix Your Health Habits, Do It All at Once
- Optimism Protects Teens From Depression, Health Risks
- Video: What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?