We’ve all seen them. One medical research study says something is bad for you. Then another comes along that says it’s actually good for you.
Now, a review of all the latest evidence on coffee gives the drink a clean bill of health – as long as you don’t drink it scaldingly hot.
The news from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) marks an important change. That group works under the World Health Organization umbrella. Back in 1991, IARC looked at the evidence that seemed to link coffee to bladder cancer but the most recent review changes that. IARC took advantage of what has grown to 1,000 studies in humans and animals. It determined that many of the old cancer studies failed to consider the smoking habits of people. The newer research not only corrected the old information, it included studies showing that coffee may actually reduce the risk of developing some cancers, such as liver cancer.
The work of IARC is matched by the wave of other research showing that coffee is linked to a reduced risk of Parkinson’s Disease, liver disease and Type 2 diabetes. Indications that coffee may help to prevent multiple sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are more good news, just like the decreased risk of depression that coffee drinkers enjoy.
The key for the researchers is moderation, especially when it comes to how hot your coffee is. As part of the IARC review, they looked at all hot drinks. The evidence suggested that drinking very hot beverages has a link to cancer of the esophagus. However, the issue has to do with the impacts of hot liquids on tissues in the throat more than anything else. If it feels like you’re burning your tongue or throat, it’s too hot. As long as you let your freshly-brewed single serve cool down to no more than 149 degrees Fahrenheit/65 degrees Celsius – some milk or cream will help – you’ll be fine.