By Briony Skinner, Sarah McVeigh

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States say drinking coffee can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

The study monitored coffee consumption of more than 47,000 American men over a 22-year period.

It found men who drank more than six cups of coffee a day reduced their risk of developing prostate cancer by 60 per cent.

Coffee could prevent prostate cancer, study shows.
Coffee could prevent prostate cancer, study shows. Source: Omar_MK on Flickr.

The US study linked one to three cups a day with a 30 per cent lower risk of developing the cancer.

But the research found the effect was the same regardless of whether the coffee was caffeinated.

Heart Foundation spokeswoman Deanne Wooden said antioxidants in coffee is likely to be the cause of risk reduction.

She said coffee consumption is a lot higher in the United States and suggests the US population may get the majority of their antioxidants from coffee.

“If you’re looking at antioxidant consumption there is definitely much healthier ways to get your antioxidants and that would be with fresh fruits and vegetables,” she said.

She said while six cups of coffee per day is excessive, the report has some merit.

“One to three cups per day is actually enough to reduce risk, that would be more in line with Heart Foundation recommendations,” she said.

Queensland Cancer Council spokeswoman Gemma Ward said it is premature to recommend men increase their coffee intake based on a single study.

“It really is just about overall wellness and cutting their cancer risk in other ways and not relying on the outcomes of one study,” she said.