I admit it; I’m a sun-worshipping summer baby. In the dead of winter, I’m a fake n’ baker—pit stopping at the local tanning salon on a semi-regular basis. In warmer weather, I brazenly bask in the sun’s glory, as often as my schedule permits. But, I’m not completely irresponsible; I know the havoc that UV rays can wreak on the skin and begrudgingly carry a bottle of sunblock in my purse, as a result. With over a million Americans diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancers every year, I, for one, will take all the help I can get. But, who knew that, of all things, coffee could lend a helping hand!
A study, recently published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, reveals that caffeine actually helps to kill UV-damaged skin cells—responsible for causing a number of skin cancers. This finding seems to echo several earlier studies, showing that those who regularly consume coffee or tea are less likely to develop nonmelanoma skin cancers. One particularly promising report comes to us courtesy of the researchers at the University of Washington. They followed over 90,000 Caucasian women and the results were astonishing. The women’s risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer dropped by 5% with every cup of caffeinated coffee they consumed! But, it’s important to note that decaffeinated coffee had no effect on the participants and tea was only half as effective as regular coffee in preventing the development of skin cancer.
Scientists are just as excited about the studies’ results as the rest of us. There’s been talk that these findings could lead to the development of caffeinated lotions, with the ability to safeguard against certain types of skin cancers and reverse the effects of UV damage. Until then, I think I’ll pack a cup of Joe with me the next time I hit the beach!
I'm a runner, have been since the age of 14. But, after all these years in the office, I’m ashamed to say that I’m not half the athlete I used to be. Now, when I do get a chance to make it out for a run, it’s a painful process. I could use all the non-narcotic help I can get.
According to results published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, I may be in luck. As it turns out, caffeine, the same ingredient that keeps me going after a good cup of coffee, may literally keep me running. It seems caffeine can affect the adenosine neuromodulatory system in the brain and spinal cord—responsible for processing pain.
Researchers studied a group of cyclists and found that those who were given the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee benefited from a reduction in pain during exercise. It didn’t matter if the subjects were regular drinkers or coffee newbies. This is great news for those of us who find ourselves hurting during visits to the gym!
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