BEIJING, China — Women who drink coffee could lower their risk of endometrial cancer by nearly a third, a new study finds. The cancer, which begins in the lining of the uterus, is one of the most common gynecological cancers worldwide.
For women, common risk factors for this type of cancer include long-term exposure to excess estrogen, being obese, having diabetes, and certain dietary habits. Another potential risk highlighted by previous studies was drinking caffeinated coffee.
In order to find out whether a morning cup of java protects or impairs the health of women, a team of scientists in China analyzed the findings from over 20 different studies. They collected the data from 24 studies on coffee intake with 9,833 new cases of endometrial cancer occurring in 699,234 individuals.
“We evaluated the potential associations between coffee consumption and the risk of endometrial cancer and found that a higher intake of coffee was associated with a lower risk of endometrial cancer,” study authors tells SWNS in a statement.
“This result was consistently observed for cohort and case-control studies. We also observed significant inverse associations between high coffee consumption and the risk of endometrial cancer in the case-control and cohort studies.”
What’s in coffee that makes it a cancer fighter?
Coffee, a complex mixture of more than 1,000 chemicals, is one of the most consumed, socially accepted stimulants. In its natural form, coffee contains several chemical components, such as phenolic compounds (including chlorogenic acid), which produces catechins, caffeine, ferulic, and coumaric acids.
According to the researchers, phenolic compounds promote healthy lifestyles by their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, previous studies show coffee has anti-carcinogenic properties which have a link to several potential mechanisms, such as what type of coffee it is or how people prepare the drink.
For example, the authors suggest that caffeinated coffee may provide better protection than decaffeinated coffee.
“The current meta-analysis demonstrated a significant inverse association of endometrial cancer risk with caffeinated coffee, but no significant association with decaffeinated coffee,” the researchers tell SWNS.
The team explains that the concentrations of these healthy bioactive compounds found in coffee could change based on their brewing method. However, before scientists can confirm this link, the researchers say more studies are necessary to explore this further.
Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer
The new report also explains the ways in which coffee has an effect on other health concerns, which are in turn connect to a lower endometrial cancer risk.
“Coffee consumption is significantly associated with improved insulin sensitivity and improved control of postprandial glycemia in patients with diabetes
which has been related to a higher endometrial cancer risk,” the team explains.
In terms of weight, the meta-analysis demonstrated that women who have a higher body mass index (BMI) were at a high risk of developing endometrial cancer and may benefit more from “increased coffee drinking than those with a lower BMI.”
Scientists add that the bioactive components found in coffee are great for the body’s metabolism, so drinking the beverage could lead to a reduction in the risk of developing endometrial cancer. The overall analysis observed that people who drank the most coffee had a 29 percent lower relative risk of developing endometrial cancer than those who don’t drink as much.
South West News Service writer Georgia Lambert contributed to this report.