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No ‘refills’ for breast cancer with coffee

New research adds evidence to coffee’s ability to protect against breast cancer recurrence.

Coffee may inhibit breast cancer cells like a double Americano squashes the need for a mid-afternoon nap, according to new research from Sweden. The research, which examines recurrence rates among breast cancer patients, adds to a growing body of studies suggesting coffee helps protect against cancer.

The study looked at 500 women treated with the breast cancer drug tamoxifen. Researchers found that women who drank at least two cups of java a day had only half the risk of recurrence of the women who drank less coffee or none at all, according to a release from Lund University. The research was conducted there and at Skane University Hospital. It was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research and noted on

“The study also shows that those who drank at least two cups of coffee a day had smaller tumors and a lower proportion of hormone-dependent tumors,” researchers Ann Rosendahl and Helena Jernstrom said in the release.

The researchers also looked at the cancer at the cellular level and found that in response to two compounds in the coffee, caffeine and caffeic acid, the breast cancer cells slowed their dividing and died at a higher rate, especially in combination with tamoxifen.

This research adds a nice frothy topping to a swirl of recent studies suggesting the health-promoting powers of coffee (an NBJ 2015 All Star Ingredient). One 2014 study of 120,000 people followed over 20 years found that those who drank moderate amounts of coffee had lower diabetes risk than those who drank less. Other studies have associated coffee drinking with lower risk of cardiovascular disease and various cancers, reduced dementia risk, better cognitive function, reduced risk of depression, and weight loss. Another study associated four cups of coffee with a 20 percent lower risk of malignant melanoma. A 2013 study linked coffee consumption with a 40-percent lower risk of liver cancer. Take that, green tea.

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