Can your morning coffee improve your chances of survival?

According to a study from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, which was published in the journal ‘Gastroenterology’, people with colorectal cancer who drink at least four cups of coffee per day reduce their risk of an early death.

Researchers looked at nearly eight years of data from 1,600 people with colorectal cancer and found that those who drank at least four cups per day were 52% less likely to die from their cancer and 30% less likely to die from any cause compared to those who didn’t drink coffee at all. Those patients who drank at least two cups of coffee per day were 37% less likely to die of their colorectal cancer and 29% less likely to die from other causes.

What was also interesting is that it didn’t matter whether the patient drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.

Now before you get too excited, remember that the researchers are not sure why drinking coffee reduces the risk of death from colorectal cancer, or even if the coffee itself is the cause or whether some other factor is at play. They suggest that if it is coffee that is reducing the risk of death then it could be due to its anti-carcinogenic compounds, which help it fight inflammation and insulin resistance.

The results will now need to be re-examined in other studies, but it’s a nice thought to think that when you sit down to your morning coffee you might actually be improving your chances of survival.



You may have read reports of a lawsuit in California to get coffee labelled with a cancer warning. The reasoning is that coffee contains small quantities of acrylamide, which is linked to cancer in rats. However, what you have to bear in mind is this flies in the face of research showing coffee is beneficial and not cancer causing. Many common substances can cause cancer if lab animals are exposed to huge doses (far more than could be consumed or encountered in real life). Many substances are good in small quantities and bad in large ones. Consider: sunlight is essential for Vitamin D production but potentially cancer-causing if you over-expose/burn your skin.

Researchers seem unimpressed by the lawsuit – see Coffee doesn’t need cancer warning label

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