If you’re like me, you love your coffee. It gets you going in the morning, picks you up from a late afternoon slump and gives you that all needed early evening boost at the gym later. But, along with the rejuvenating effect of coffee, as a dermatologist, there’s an even more important reason I love coffee…
Your Daily Joe Could Help Prevent This Deadly Cancer
If you’re a coffee drinker, you probably don’t need another reason to keep drinking it. But, in the last few years, health researchers have reported many good reasons to drink coffee. They include:
- Antioxidant power. You may be surprised to know that brewed coffee contains even more antioxidants than many of the fruits and vegetables you eat. That means coffee helps your body fight free radical DNA damage. Less DNA damage means your genetic code stays intact longer. As a result, you stay healthier, and younger, and live longer.
- Brain power. The caffeine in coffee stimulates the nerve cells in your brain to work faster, more efficiently. That’s that “wake up” alert boost you feel after drinking coffee. It gives a big boost to your memory and learning ability. It’s thought that regular coffee drinking can help prevent the brain disorders, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Slim power. Coffee helps you burn fat. It fires up your metabolism to work faster. That’s why I drink a cup of it before I hit the gym. It helps me get through my workouts faster.
- Anti-Diabetes power. Research has shown that coffee helps lower blood sugar levels. It guards against pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, that has become a near epidemic in the U.S., especially in middle-aged people.
- Mood boosting power. A recent Harvard study reported that coffee drinkers have about 20% less depression than non-coffee drinkers. It boosts the brain chemicals serotonin. Coffee drinkers were found to be 53% less likely to commit suicide.
- Liver cleansing power. Recent studies in the last few years have shown that coffee is also protective of your liver. It helps clear toxins that can make you sick as well as prevent liver cirrhosis by about 80%.
And, if all those amazing reasons weren’t enough, I’m going to give you one more…
Researchers have recently decided that drinking coffee really does help prevent the most deadliest of cancers – melanoma. A few years ago, researchers learned that caffeinated coffee dramatically lowered the risk for the most common skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. But, then, they weren’t quite sure if coffee also helped prevent melanoma. Now they know it does.
Researchers out of the National Cancer Institute/National Institute of Health found that even a modest 1-3 cups per day can lower your melanoma risk by 10%. And, if you drink 4 or more cups a day, your risk decreases over 20%. These findings were in comparison to those who didn’t drink coffee at all.
It’s thought that the antioxidants, and other compounds, in coffee protect your DNA against UV ray damage. In addition, caffeinated coffee also helps your liver clear environmental toxins from your system much faster. UVA spectrum rays, and environmental pollutants, are common risk factors for melanomas.
Some people are at higher risk for skin cancers, both basal and melanoma. These include:
- Fair-complexion persons. Natural blondes and redheads with paler skin have less melanin in their skin and less protection from UVA rays.
- Outdoor workers. Construction workers, data lineman, mail carriers, etc, who may spend several hours a day working outdoors exposed to UVA rays.
- Flight personnel. Flight attendants and pilots are significantly exposed to cockpit radiation from technical instrumentation. In addition, they’re also exposed to cosmic radiation flying in the upper atmosphere.
- Sun worshipers. If you’re always trying to tan, either outdoors or in tanning booths, you’re at much higher risk for developing skin cancer. Constant UVA ray exposure damages your skin’s DNA, causing cells to break down and form cancerous mutations.
- Men living alone. A study out of Sweden revealed that men, of all ages, who live alone are at higher risk for melanoma as well as faster progression of it. The reason is that single men are less likely to visit a dermatologist regularly. Their skin cancer is then usually found at an advanced stage. Single men just don’t visit doctors as regularly as men who are married or live with a significant other.
- Smokers. Smoke is an environmental toxin that does a lot of free radical DNA damage to your skin cells. As a result, it’s easy for them to mutate into cancerous lesions.
- High alcohol consumption. Alcohol is metabolized as a simple sugar and can create a lot of inflammation in your system. Chronic inflammation results in DNA damage in all your major organs. The more alcohol you consume, the more inflammation you create, the higher risk you are for cancer.
Early Detection Important to Survival
Even though melanomas can be deadly cancers, they are survivable if detected early. Early detection increases the survival rate over 90%. But, too often melanomas are diagnosed in advanced stages, especially in older, single men.
Yet, with early detection, they can be surgically removed before their cells spread. It’s the progressive spread of cancer cells into other organs that creates a higher death rate from melanoma. Yearly skin examinations are crucial. But, you don’t have to wait a year to see your dermatologist. If you have a mole that changes colors or develops irregular edges, itches and/or bleeds, you will want to have that mole looked at quickly.
Along with seeing your dermatologist for regular skin checks, adding a few cups of coffee to your daily routine can help guard against developing a melanoma.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.
Daily Coffee May Protect Against Melanoma, http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/01/20/daily-coffee-may-protect-against-melanoma-study-says/
13 Evidence Based Health Benefits of Coffee, http://authoritynutrition.com/top-13-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coffee/
Higher Risk of Death from Melanoma in Single Men, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140401102124.htm