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The Drink that Fights Cancer 13

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    The Drink that Fights Cancer 13

    The Drink that Fights Cancer 13

    Before you soak up the sun this weekend, finish your coffee. The strong stuff can reduce your risk of developing the most common type of skin cancer, according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Research. Don’t worry, your java can be served iced and still yield the same benefits.

    Researchers from Harvard Medical School followed 112,897 people for more than 20 years, over which time 20% of participants developed basal cell carcinoma. People who drank three cups or more of caffeinated coffee each day had the lowest risk of developing the skin cancer. Female coffee addicts slashed their risk of developing basal cell carcinoma by 21%. Here’s what you should know before you place your next coffee order:

    How does coffee prevent basal cell carcinoma?
    Caffeine is to thank for the coffee’s preventative effect, says study co-author and epidemiologist Jiali Han, P.hD. Good thing you never liked decaf anyway! Studies done on animals have shown that caffeine kills and helps eliminate UV-damaged cells, reducing the risk of basal cell carcinoma. While researchers also looked at the effects of caffeine consumption from tea, soda, and chocolate, any and all caffeine-carrying foods should decrease risk of the cancer.

    However, you’d have to down three bottles of soda (or 20 servings of chocolate!) to score the amount of caffeine found in just one cup of coffee. It’s no wonder coffee accounts for about 80% of all caffeine consumed in the United States. Not a fan of Joe? Opt for tea. While tea contains just one-third of the amount of caffeine found in coffee, tea still offers plenty of cancer- and age-fighting antioxidants. (Read more about the best kind of tea for your health.)

    How much coffee should I drink?
    Three cups a day will keep the basal cell carcinoma away? Well, not quite. But it will help—and deliver a bevy of other healthful benefits. Besides preventing basal cell carcinoma, caffeine can help prevent type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, and depression, Han says. “Skin-cancer prevention alone isn’t reason enough to drink coffee, but it’s one of many pieces of evidence showing that drinking coffee is beneficial to one’s health,” he says. Plus, coffee tastes better than the mystery formula in your 5-hour ENERGY shot. But, still, there’s no need to go overboard: Studies have shown that more than five cups of coffee can be unhealthy.

    What should I order?
    Here’s one more reason to stick to your Starbucks habit: Its coffees have the highest caffeine content of the popular coffeehouse chains, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Guzzle a grande Pike Place Roast or Clover-machine brewed coffee and you’ll score 330mg of caffeine. And don’t bother with blended beverages: Besides being loaded with sugar and calories, they don’t pack much coffee—or caffeine. (If you’re seriously craving a blended treat, try one of these healthy smoothie recipes.)

    What else can I do to prevent basal cell carcinoma?
    Sunscreen is still your friend, and your first defense, in preventing basal cell carcinoma, Han says. What’s more, the study found that caffeine doesn’t reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma, and sun exposure is the primary cause of basal cell carcinoma, which affects about 2.8 million Americans a year. In fact, it’s the most frequently occurring form of all cancers.

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