Coffee

If you can’t seem to give up your morning java fix, there may be a silver lining: Harvard School of Public Health has released two studies that show a connection between daily coffee consumption and decreased risks of both heart failure and skin cancer.

According to the first study’s results, published in the journal Circulation Heart Failure, even though excessive coffee consumption is linked to serious heart problems, one or two cups of coffee per day may actually protect drinkers against heart failure. The disease kills more Americans every year than any other illness.

The research project reviewed the coffee habits and heart failure risks of individuals in five studies conducted over ten years in Sweden and Finland. Researchers found that the individuals who drank no more than two 8-ounce cups of coffee per day decreased their risk of heart failure by as much as 11 percent. Consumption of more than 16 ounces of coffee per day, however, increased the risks, and drinking more than five cups per day had a serious potential for harm, the study found.

The second study, published in the journal Cancer Research, found that three cups of coffee per day decreased the risk of basal cell carcinoma skin cancer by as much as 20 percent. The disease affects nearly 3 million Americans every year.

More than 100,000 people were followed during the skin cancer study, which found that decaffeinated coffee did not have the same effect as regular coffee. The research also identified similar anti-cancer properties in caffeine found in chocolate and cola.

Several other recent studies have connected coffee consumption with other health benefits including a reduced risk for Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes, and a decreased risk of developing the antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

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Image: Robert S. Donovan