Another study linking coffee to possible heath benefits

CoffeeStacked_dreamstime_1762791A large study on coffee making news today is good news for coffee lovers savoring your morning cup. The study finds that drinking up to five cups of coffee a day links to living longer, and lower risk of dying from type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, when compared to non-coffee drinkers.

The benefit held true for drinking caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

Published in Cardiology, this latest analysis adds to the evidence in recent years suggesting that moderate amounts of coffee can bring health benefits. Coffee contains several phytochemicals and nutrients that lab studies have linked to lower risk of inflammation and keeping insulin at healthy levels, both of which play a role in type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer risk.

This study did not find a link between coffee consumption and cancer deaths. But AICR and World Cancer Research Fund’s analysis of the research finds there is strong evidence that coffee drinkers have lower risk of developing both endometrial and liver cancers. Having type 2 diabetes also increases the risk of many cancers.

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Three drinks a day can cause liver cancer, new report finds

An analysis of worldwide research on diet, weight, physical activity and liver cancer has found strong evidence that consuming approximately three or more alcoholic drinks a day causes liver cancer. Published today, the finding provides the clearest indication so far of how many drinks actually cause liver cancer.r-uauy

As a member of the independent panel of scientists that reviewed the worldwide research, this is a significant finding that I hope will help reduce the global number of cases of liver cancer. Currently, it’s the second most common cause of death from cancer worldwide, accounting for 746,000 deaths globally in 2012.

How alcohol causes liver cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption over a period of time can cause damage to the liver and lead to cirrhosis (scarring and hardening of the liver), which is known to increase the risk of this cancer. We know that 90-95% of liver cancer cases have underlying cirrhosis. Alcohol consumption is also carcinogenic to humans, has tumor-promoting effects, and is associated with increased body fat. The latter is a concern because obesity is a risk factor for accumulation of fat in the liver, which may lead to cirrhosis and also increase liver cancer risk. Continue reading

The Genes in Your Coffee (and Cancer-Protective Compounds)

Quick: what do tea, chocolate and coffee all have in common? There’s actually a lot they share – including many cancer-protective compounds – but for all who answered caffeine, that’s the big one.CoffeeBeansCup_dreamstime_13158097_blog

Now a research team has sequenced a draft of the genome of the coffee plant, finding that the caffeine compound has probably evolved independently of tea or chocolate. The researchers sequenced the plant Coffea canephora, which reportedly accounts for almost a third of the world’s coffee production.

The study was published on Friday in Science.

In all, the scientists identified about 25,000 protein-producing genes in the plant. (Humans have approximately 21,000 genes.) When they compared the coffee genome to the DNA of tea and chocolate they found coffee’s caffeine enzymes are more closely related to other genes within the coffee plant than to caffeine enzymes in tea and chocolate.

Compared to the grape and tomato, the coffee plant contains larger families of genes that relate to the production of flavonoid and other compounds, which contribute to the smell of coffee and are studied for their health benefits. Continue reading