A ten-year study from the National Cancer Center in Tokyo that reported on the coffee-consumption habits of 60,000 people found that daily coffee drinkers reduced their risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, by almost 50 percent compared with those who never drank coffee. Even an occasional cup could reduce the risk by up to 30 percent, researchers found (International Journal of Cancer, 2005, vol. 116, no.1). Antioxidants in coffee beans are most likely the cause for the decreased risk of liver cancer, says Joe Vinson, PhD, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania who researches antioxidants in foods and beverages.
Before you run to pour yourself another cup, consider that it may be wise to enjoy coffee in moderation—or opt for decaf. Aside from giving you the jitters, caffeine was found in another recent study to increase aortic stiffness, which may heighten the risk of cardiovascular disease (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005, vol. 81, no. 6).