Need a reason to justify your Starbucks receipts? Lucky for you, the health community has your back on that obscene coffee habit. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Yale School of Public Health have linked coffee consumption to reducing melanoma risk by 20%.

America is definitely a fan of the morning cup of joe. Ok… A few cups. More than half of Americans drink an average of 3.1 cups of coffee everyday. No wonder everyone is mildly jumpy at every turn.

Even better news? You can keep drinking north of three cups of day. The study, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, found that the more coffee consumed, the more protections it affords. Before you go out and mortgage your house on a Starbucks card, just hang on.

Researchers used the data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, involving 447,357 non-Hispanic white participants.The baseline for the study was participants that were cancer-free.

Every participant completed a food frequency questionnaire at the onset of the study, which detailed their coffee intake. Incidences of melanoma were then tracked for an average of 10.5 years. During the timeline, 2,905 study participants developed melanoma.

What the team found was stark. The more cups of coffee the participants drank, the more protection they enjoyed from melanoma. They found the baseline of four cups to reduce your risk by 20%.

“Higher coffee intake was associated with a modest decrease in risk of melanoma in this large US cohort study. Additional investigations of coffee intake and its constituents, particularly caffeine, with melanoma are warranted.”

The association was found with caffeinated coffee – decaf did not show the same reduction in risk. Coffee reduced the risk of malignant melanoma, while melanoma in situ (the melanoma has not spread beyond the outer cells of the skin) was not reduced.

Coffee Risks

While this sounds great, there are other studies that point to potential pitfalls of drinking this much coffee. A 2013 study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings pointed towards four cups of day increasing your risk of premature death.

The caffeine in coffee also presents its own issues. The stimulant has been linked to insomnia, restlessness, muscle tremors, stomach upset and nervousness.

So, while this study shows promise, people need to be aware of other risks. No one is saying to drop coffee or drink more. Just understand the risks and benefits associated with America’s favorite morning beverage.

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