Can coffee and tea help stop brain tumors? A new huge study of over half a million adults in Europe shows that it just may be true. But as usual, as soon as a startling study comes out, there's at least one researcher that tries to tone it down. In this case, according to a Reuters article, the lead scientist says it's too soon to start changing any habits, at least until more is understood.
And really, coffee is good for you? It's enough to make you believe in conspiracy theories. It seems that at least once a month an article comes out that challenges our ideas about nutrition and health; wine's good for you, chocolate is good for you, tea is good for you, and oh, don't forget coffee!
The study finds that coffee and tea may lower the "risk of gliomas, a group of brain tumors that makes up about 80 percent of malignant brain cancers in adults." Although in a study of this size, while that's very promising news, we should all remember how statistics work. After all, how many people get brain tumors anyway? In America, the American Brain Tumor Association estimates there will be 23,720 malignant brain tumors diagnosed in this year. That's an amazingly precise number, isn't it?
If the figure is accurate, it means that less than one hundredth of 1% of Americans of any age, will be diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor this year. And then there's the question of how much coffee and tea actually reduce the risk. In other words, the lead scientist is right, we just don't know yet. But any studies that come out that say that what is bad for us is actually good for us, is going to be used as an excuse, hopefully just jokingly, by people who indulge too often.
Coffee is such a popular beverage that it's been studied for decades, and aside from its possible affect on brain tumors, it's been shown, as reported by Harvard Women’s Health Watch:
- to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes
- reduce the risk of developing gallstones
- and reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease.
On the other hand, caffeine can:
- increase your blood pressure,
- increase your heart rate
- and cause an "occasional irregular heartbeat."
Does the good outweigh the bad? That's for you to decide as an informed health researcher and possible coffee lover. Although the brain tumor study is fascinating, and adds to the number of studies showing the positive effects of coffee, each individual must take into account their own unique health profile. Do you drink coffee? If so, how much?
: Want to reduce caffeine, but aren't ready to give up the morning zing you get from your coffee? Try experimenting by making your own coffee with half decaf and half regular. Decaf coffee has come a long way, and now tastes great! Over a period of days, slowly add more decaf and less regular, for a smooth and trouble-free way to reduce your caffeine intake.
Coffee Health Risks: For the moderate drinker, coffee is safe says Harvard Women’s Health Watch
Coffee, tea linked to lower risk of brain tumor
Health effects of coffee