Who would have thought that drinking coffee can be a preventive medicine for prostate cancer? Drinking three cups of expresso coffee a day slashes the risk of developing prostate cancer, a study has found. Research on 7,000 men confirmed that drinking three strong coffees a day cuts the chance of disease by more than 50 per cent. The findings shed further light on the role of caffeine in fighting prostate cancer.
Researchers followed the lives of 7,000 in the Molise region of Italy over four years. Study leader George Pounis, of the Mediterranean Neurological Institute, said: ‘By analysing their coffee consumption habits and comparing them with prostate cancer cases occurring over time, we saw a net reduction of risk of 53 per cent in those who drank more than three cups a day.’
The team confirmed their findings by testing the action of coffee extracts on prostate cancer cells in laboratory studies. After testing both caffeinated and decaf. extracts, they found that only the caffeine significantly reduced cancer cells proliferation, as well as their ability to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body. This effect largely disappeared with decaf.
‘The observations on cancer cells allow us to say that the beneficial effect observed is most likely to occur to caffeine, rather than to the many other substances contained in coffee,’ they wrote in the International Journal of Cancer. The researchers noted that Italians prepare coffee in a specific way using very high water temperature, high pressure and no filters. They said this method – different to that used in most other countries – could lead to a higher concentration of bioactive substances, adding: ‘It will be very interesting now to explore this aspect. Coffee is an integral part of Italian lifestyle, which, we must remember, is not made just by individual foods, but also by the specific way they are prepared.’
Mr Pounis added: ‘In recent years we have seen a number of international studies on this issue. But scientific evidence has been considered insufficient to draw conclusions. Moreover, in some cases results were contradictory. Our goal, therefore, was to increase knowledge in this field and to provide a clearer view.’
Interesting, but not conclusive. However, it seems there is no harm whatsoever in drinking coffee the way the Italians do. Whether it prevents the risk of prostate cancer is another matter worth pursuing.