Is Coffee Good for You?
Books on Coffee
While many scientists have wondered about a possible link between
coffee and a lower the risk of prostate cancer, most studies to date
have been relatively small and shown mixed results. But a new study
followed almost 50,000 male health professionals for more than two
According to the research, for the men who drank the most coffee, the
risk of getting the most deadly form of prostate cancer was about 60
“The new study shows that getting a 60 percent reduction in risk of
aggressive prostate cancer requires a lot of coffee -- at least six cups
a day. However, men who drank three cups a day had a 30 percent lower
chance of getting a lethal prostate cancer, and that's not bad.”
Journal of National Cancer Institute
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
I am not a coffee drinker, as personally I never acquired a taste for
it. However, there appear to be instances where coffee may be of
therapeutic benefit, and warding off cancer may be one of them. This is
not too much of a leap once you realize that coffee in its natural state
is a natural herb.
In this large study of nearly 50,000 men, researchers found men who
drank six cups of coffee a day had a 60 percent lower risk of lethal
prostate cancer, while those who drank three cups a day had a 30 percent
lower risk. The benefits were thought to come from the non-caffeine
components of coffee, which include multiple nutrients and flavonoid
Other studies, too, have shown a lower cancer risk among coffee
drinkers. For instance, a Japanese study found that those who drank
coffee daily, or close to it, had about half the risk of hepatocellular
carcinoma (HCC), a type of liver cancer, than people who never drank
coffee. Other research has also linked coffee with lower rates of:
Type 2 diabetes
Heart rhythm problems
Is Coffee Good for You?
I have previously said that coffee is better off avoided, but some new
revelations have changed my stance on this somewhat.
In an interview I recently conducted with Ori Hofmekler, author of The
Warrior Diet, The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat --
and a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast who has researched coffee
extensively -- you can hear the details of why coffee may be of
Please realize that the warnings against the use of caffeine are
well-warranted, because in and of itself it can be quite toxic. However,
like so many other natural substances, when it comes to the whole food,
in this case the coffee bean as opposed to the isolated caffeine, the
converse is oftentimes true.
For instance, recent research, which Ori has written about in his
upcoming book, Unlocking the Muscle Gene, has shown that coffee, which
can trigger glutamate reuptake inhibition, ALSO triggers a mechanism in
your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived
Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF).
BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and also
expresses itself in your muscles. It does this by supporting the
neuromotor, which is the most critical element in your muscle. Without
the neuromotor, your muscle is like an engine without ignition… Neuro-motor
degradation is part of the process that explains age-related muscle
So in this respect caffeine from natural, whole coffee may help keep
your brain and muscle tissue young.
There is also reason to believe that coffee could help curb your sugar
cravings. One of the reasons why you get addicted to a food is because
your brain has opioid receptors. They're part of a primordial reward
system that helps you detect, select and enjoy eating fresh foods over
Today, however, we live in a world of plenty, surrounded by processed
foods that are typically loaded with sugar, which has led our addictive
opioid receptors to become addicted to the wrong foods.
There are a few compounds called opioid receptor antagonists. That means
once they occupy the receptors, they prohibit you from being addicted to
something else. Coffee is an opioid receptor antagonist, meaning
caffeine can bind to your opioid receptors and may attenuate the
addictive impact of another substance. So, all in all, it appears coffee
may have some valuable redeeming benefits, but there are some important
Be Careful and ONLY Consume Coffee this Way to Maximize Health Benefits
Most coffee produced today is heavily contaminated with pesticides. It's
actually one of the most heavily sprayed crops grown. So, any coffee you
consume should be organic, pesticide-free coffee. You also want only
high-quality coffee beans that have been properly dried and roasted, and
you'll want to grind them yourself to prevent rancidity.
"Basically, if you have a quality coffee bean, even the roasted one, you
get multiple nutrients and flavonoid antioxidants. You can detect the
quality of the coffee by taste and smell ... rancidity can be detected
immediately. A coffee that doesn't have a good aroma or taste is most
likely stale and useless."
Another important caveat is to drink your coffee black, without sugar or
cream. Add sugar and you'll certainly ruin any of the benefits discussed
above by spiking your insulin and causing insulin resistance.
Finally, only drink coffee prior to exercise, not after.
When used before exercise, coffee will give you a good boost. However,
it affects your muscles similarly to exercise itself. It increases the
energy expenditure by your muscle while inhibiting the mTOR (mammalian
target of rapamycin) -- the mechanism that increases protein synthesis
in your muscle.
What that means is that coffee, similar to exercise, actually inhibits
the inherent mechanism that builds your muscle, which is why you should
avoid it after a workout. (You do not build muscle while exercising.
Muscle building occurs afterward.)
More Tips for Warding Off Prostate Cancer
Coffee, when high-quality, organic and consumed black, may have some
useful health effects. However, it is far from the only tool you can use
to help lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Three others you should be aware of include:
1. Avoid Fructose
Fructose, the number one source of calories in the United States found
in the majority of processed foods and soft drinks should be kept to a
bare minimum in your diet.
Research in the journal Cancer Research shows that the way different
sugars are metabolized (using different metabolic pathways) is of MAJOR
consequence when it comes to feeding cancer and making it proliferate.
According to the authors:
" Importantly, fructose and glucose metabolism are quite different...
These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to
In this case, the cancer cells used were pancreatic cancer, which is
typically regarded as the most deadly and universally rapid-killing form
The study confirms the old adage that sugar feeds cancer because they
found that tumor cells do thrive on sugar (glucose). However, the cells
used fructose for cell division, speeding up the growth and spread of
2. Vitamin D
One specific treatment for prostate cancer that has been brought to the
research forefront is vitamin D from sunshine exposure.
According to a study published in 2009, men with higher levels of
vitamin D in their blood were seven times LESS likely to die from
prostate cancer than those with lower amounts.
Vitamin D's impact on your cancer risk is becoming increasingly
well-documented, and there are now well over 800 scientific studies
confirming the link between vitamin D deficiency and multiple types of
cancers, including prostate cancer.
Personally, I believe one of the most powerful ways you can improve your
health status is by optimizing your vitamin D levels. For more
information on how to do this, please review this previous article.
Overall, getting a safe amount of sun exposure on a regular basis, or
taking an oral vitamin D3 supplement could reduce your risk of ALL
cancers by at least 50 percent!
3. Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 has also been found to offer significant protection against
prostate cancer. One 2008 study by the European Prospective
Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) found that increased
intake of vitamin K2 may reduce your risk of prostate cancer by 35
Interestingly, the potential benefits of vitamin K2 were most pronounced
for advanced prostate cancer.
Vitamin K has
also been found beneficial in the fight against other kinds of cancer,
including liver, colon, stomach, nasopharynx, and oral cancer, and some
studies have even suggested vitamin K may be used therapeutically in the
treatment of patients with lung cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.
Although I don't typically recommend adding extra supplements to your
diet, vitamin K is one of the few supplements you should seriously
consider because many people don't get nearly enough of it on a daily
basis through the foods they eat.
Although the exact dosing is yet to be determined, one vitamin K expert,
Dr. Cees Vermeer, recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for
adults. You must use caution on the higher doses if you take
anticoagulants, but if you are generally healthy and not on these types
of medications, I suggest 150 mcg daily.
Please note that if you've experienced stroke, cardiac arrest, or are
prone to blood clotting, do not take vitamin K without consulting your
You can also get vitamin K2 in your diet by eating raw cheese, cheese
curd or a type of fermented soy called natto. Another important note is
that vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that dietary fat is
necessary for its absorption.
One easy way to do this is to mix liquid vitamin K drops with a high
quality, animal-based omega-3 source like krill oil. A few eggs will
also work to help your body maximally absorb this fat-soluble vitamin.
This will ensure that the vitamin K is well-absorbed by your body.
Alternatively, you could add it to any other food that contains healthy
Also keep in mind that your diet can either help or hinder cancer
development or progression. Eating higher amounts of vegetables may be
helpful for preventing prostate cancer, and in treating patients already
diagnosed with it.
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