The World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its 25-year-old decision on coffee on June 15. The previous classification labeled coffee as “possibly carcinogenic” and linked America’s favorite drink to bladder cancer. The new report published in The Lancet Oncology states, “After thoroughly reviewing more than 1000 studies in humans and animals, the Working Group found that there was inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of coffee drinking overall.” This news comes with a collective sigh of relief as just under two thirds of American adults drink coffee daily.
In addition to not causing cancer, recent studies show moderate coffee consumption may have a host of health benefits. There is a large body of evidence to show caffeine improves mental focus and can increase productivity, but coffee also is a great source of anti-oxidants. “Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close,” says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton. It is not entirely clear why, but studies show drinking coffee may even help prevent Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes, and colon cancer.
The WHO, however, did identify a surprising risk for people who drink coffee. They found that drinking “very hot” beverages could be dangerous as the practice could lead to esophageal cancer, which is the eighth most common form of cancer worldwide. This is caused by repeated inflammation of the throat by consuming excessively hot beverages (above 149 degrees Fahrenheit). So sit back and enjoy your coffee, just make sure to let it cool first.
Read more here: “Coffee May Protect Against Cancer, W.H.O. Conclude” (Anahad O’Connor, NYT)