Some popular beverages could prevent cancer

December 14, 2009 9:19:32 PM PST
The research reads like a menu. Beer, coffee, pistachio nuts! It was conducted by real scientists and each study was presented to the American Association for Cancer Research in Houston last week Good news for men -- the first "weird food or beverage" that may protect you from cancer is beer! More precisely, it's the hops in beer. What's in the hops that may fight cancer? Brewer Sam Wright knows about hops. He went to hops school.

He said, "It's called xanthohumol, which is one of the bittering agents in beer."

German scientists found hops helped protect rats from prostate cancer. Weather it works in humans or not is unclear, but it gives folks a new excuse to drink beer.

If you're not into beer, here's our second 'weird' finding. Coffee may also protect men from prostate cancer, according to a Harvard study of 50,000 men.

Kathryn Wilson, PhD, with the Harvard School of Public Health, explained, "Men who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day had about a 60% lower risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer."

She says they found four to six cups a day dropped the risk of cancer to 25 to 30 percent. One to three cups a day dropped the risk to 20 percent. And it was true for both regular and decaf.

Coffee drinker Jerry Gauche said, "It's encouraging that something you drink because you enjoy it is actually good for you."

Add to the list pistachios, which may prevent lung cancer.

"There's some evidence that gamma tocopherol is protective against certain forms of cancer such as lung cancer," explained Ladia Hernandez, RD, with Texas Woman's University.

Houston volunteers who ate the pistachios had an increase in this protective type of vitamin E.

Another study has found that omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish like salmon and tuna may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Experts say right now none of this science is ready for primetime, however, it's interesting.


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