Many aging parents are among the millions of adults who purchased over $74 billion worth of coffee last year – and, provided the caffeine doesn’t keep them up, a new report indicates that they can now sleep more easily. A recently released study from the World Health Organization (WHO) has found no evidence that coffee itself is a cause of cancer.
This is a reversal from previous ways of thinking. Since 1991, it has been thought that there might be some link between drinking coffee and cancer. However, a group of 23 scientists looked at more than 1,000 studies and found no evidence that coffee is carcinogenic – as a matter of fact, they even found some evidence that suggests that drinking coffee may provide some protective benefits from cancer to some people. (In the latter category, it seems there may be some protective benefit from coffee for liver cancer and for uterine endometrium cancer.)
Does that mean aging parents should feel free to pour themselves more piping hot cups of their favorite joe? Well, not necessarily.
While coffee itself does not seem to cause cancer, the scientists concluded that drinking very hot beverages (150 degrees or above) can contribute to esophageal cancer. Since water boils at 212 degrees, people who drink their coffee before it has cooled to a more benign temperature may be increasing their risk of this form of cancer.
Of course, there are other reasons that aging parents and others may want to watch their coffee intake. The caffeine in coffee can be a trigger for people prone to incontinence, for example. Too much caffeine is also famously linked with insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
It’s good news for many aging parents and other seniors that a favorite beverage is no longer viewed as possibly carcinogenic. Still, consulting with a doctor is a good idea to determine just how much coffee is appropriate for any individual.