Coffee, wine and conflicting health stories

In the interest of full disclosure here, I don’t drink coffee. I’ve tried to acquire a taste a number of times, but the taste just doesn’t live up to the promise of the aroma. But when I saw a recent article on myths surrounding America’s favorite caffeine delivery system in the Health section of The New York Times, I was still interested.

In “Sorting Out Coffee’s Contradictions,” Jane E. Brody takes on a number of misconceptions about coffee and health, from hypertension to cancer to bone loss. And she gives it a refreshingly clean bill of health. Read the complete article here.

Wine and breast cancer:
The jury’s still out

I’ve written a number of times here about the various health benefits of drinking wine in moderation, from reduced stress to improved memory and heart health. But one troubling area has been the possible link of even moderate wine consumption to increased risk of breast cancer in women.

A recent article in Wine Spectator shows that the jury is indeed still out on this one. That the headline of the article by Jacob Gaffney, “Two Studies Look to Red Wine for Breast Cancer Prevention,” is followed by the subhead “Another study, however, finds drinking raises the risk” says it all.

While the one study “found that women who drink between one and three drinks a day had a 24 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared to nondrinkers,” two other studies point in the opposite direction. In fact, a report published in the July 2008 issue of Cancer Prevention Research found that “resveratrol [found in red wine] suppresses the metabolism of estrogen, thereby protecting cells from becoming cancerous, in one of many anti-breast cancer activities the red wine chemical exhibits.” Read the complete article here.

Photo credits: Coffee photo by Michael Kempf; wine photo by Bruce Shippee.

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