More good news about coffee

Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.

When Steve Martin stirred up a pan of cowboy coffee in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," the joe was strong enough to deliver its top health benefits in a single serving. But if you favor a more moderate cuppa, here's a rundown of what you'll get from your daily dose. (Make it black and filtered! And avoid milk, cream and sugar; research confirms they block the benefits.)

1. Drinking three or more cups a day of high-test (caffeinated) coffee slashes the risk of basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, by 40 percent. Other cancers caffeine protects against: breast, the most lethal form of prostate, liver (and other liver diseases) and endometrial. Caffeine-laced water (but not energy drinks — most contain a bunch of stuff that negates the long-term benefits), tea and chocolate protect, too.

2. Four cups of joe a day reduces your risk for type 2 diabetes and protects you from developing Alzheimer's disease. (Once you have type 2 diabetes, however, coffee makes it harder to control your glucose levels.)

3. Caffeine also has been shown to boost muscle power and endurance.

4. You can cut your risk of heart failure by 11 percent with four cups a day.

5. Good news for decaf drinkers: A large study from 1995 to 2008 found that three cups a day of either decaf or regular lowered the risk of dying (during those years) from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes and infections.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information, go to www.RealAge.com.

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