Have your java and get your health benefits too! On the heels of new research findings that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of stroke among women by as much as 25 percent, comes a discovery by Swedish researchers that drinking a substantial amount of coffee daily may significantly reduce the risk for developing an aggressive form of breast cancer. The details of their study were recently published in Breast Cancer Research.

Just how much coffee consumption will ward off the cancer? A daily dose of at least five cups will do. The study found that women who drank this daily minimum decreased there chances for developing the non-hormone-responsive disease known as ER-negative breast cancer by as much as 57 percent in comparison to those who enjoyed less than one cup per day.

According to study co-author, Dr. Per Hal, a professor in the medical epidemiology and biostatistics department at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the daily consumption of coffee may protect against ER-negative, known as the most aggressive type of breast cancer. However, he cautioned, “Now, we don’t have all the details. We don’t know, for example, what specific type of coffee we’re talking about here. But what we do know is that the protective effect is quite striking and remains even after adjusting for a lot of other factors that have the potential to play a protective role. And we know that we’re talking about what we could call a relatively normal amount of coffee drinking. Certainly we’re not talking about consuming gigantic amounts of coffee. So, this is a very intriguing finding.”

For their study, the researchers used questionnaires to assess behavioral and health characteristics of 5,929 Swedish women between 50 and 74 years old, including diet exercise, body mass index, education level, family history of breast cancer, hormone therapy protocols, smoking and drinking habits, and coffee consumption habits. About half of the women had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and both type of breast cancer and tumor status were recorded.

The findings of their analysis showed that among women who consumed at least five cups of coffee per day, the reduction in risk for ER-negative breast cancer ranged from 33 percent to 57 percent in comparison to women who drank less than one cup a day. Although the study indicated that a link exists between coffee consumption and a reduced breast cancer risk, a cause-and-effect relationship was not revealed.

Regarding the results of the analysis, Hal acknowledged, “There are one or two other studies that have pointed in the same direction as ours—but not many, just a few.” He then cautioned, “So before I would go to tell my neighbors to start drinking more coffee than they already do, I would like to know what is the biological mechanism at work here. And that’s not yet clear.” Hal further noted that his research team has begun a new study to investigate what specific chemical in the coffee can cause such a significant decrease in the risk for ER-negative breast cancer.