On the album “At Folsom Prison,” Johnny Cash sings about Joe Bean, a career criminal headed to the gallows on his birthday for a shooting he could not have committed. His mamma knew he was miles away, robbing a train, but she couldn't get her son pardoned.
Now there's another Joe Bean in town who might just be able to get you pardoned from a run-in with a deadly skin cancer. And there’s no mistakin’ this Joe: It's coffee.
National Cancer Institute researchers recently investigated the association between coffee drinking and the risk of developing malignant melanoma. They looked at 447,357 cancer-free, non-Hispanic whites and found that folks who downed four or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day had a 20 percent lower risk for malignant melanoma.
So, for pale-skinned folks anyway, coffee intake was clearly associated with a lower risk of the most lethal form of skin cancer.
(Other studies have shown that black coffee made with a paper filter reduces the risk of eight other cancers as well as diabetes, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease by more than 20 percent.)
It's possible this is because coffee contains polyphenols and caffeine, which help keep the cancer-fighting powers of your immune system healthy so your DNA is protected from the sun's ultraviolet rays.
The researchers also speculate that caffeine acts as a molecular sunscreen, absorbing UV rays, preventing sun damage from the inside out.
So if you're cleared by your doc to consume caffeine, think of good Joe Bean and drink to your health.
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