Coffee cuts skin cancer risk 

The positive coffee news just keeps percolating. Actually, not just good coffee news — good caffeine news. But if, like young Dr. Mike, you “heart” your morning joe, it may come down to the same thing.

The latest on coffee? As if fending off Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, asthma and siesta urges wasn’t enough, it’s now been found to cut your skin cancer risk.

Evidence of caffeine’s cancer-fighting powers has been, uh, brewing for a while. No one exactly understands how caffeine does what it does, but it definitely does something.  In this case, the risk of basal-cell skin carcinoma is 20 percent lower in women who drink more than three cups a day, compared with women who rarely touch the stuff. Men get protection too, but less, about 9 percent. Caffeine’s skin cancer protection goes beyond coffee. Applying caffeine directly to skin seems to work even better.

While caffeinated drinks help your body zap cancerous cells after sun damage is done, applying caffeine to your skin may prevent the dirty deed in the first place. Caffeine not only acts as a sunscreen, absorbing damaging UV light, but it also works at a molecular level, inhibiting a protein that skin tumors need.

So, will Starbucks be selling sunscreen next summer? Probably not — but caffeine’s already used in some moisturizers and body treatments. A Coppertone Cafe? It could happen.

DON’T JUST SIT THERE; DO SOMETHING -- ANYTHING!

The instant you finish reading this column, take this YOU Docs advice: Get up! 

Sitting around -- driving, eating, working, knitting, emailing, watching TV -- is lethal. This isn’t news. We’ve known for a long time that Couch-Potato-Itis is a serious heart threat. And we’ve known for a while that lots of sitting, even if you get serious amounts of exercise, messes up blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

But here’s the new shocker: Sitting causes cancer. Scientists have just tied 49,000 U.S. cases of breast cancer and 43,000 of colon cancer each year to prolonged sitting. That puts tush time right up there with smoking, obesity and a passion for pork rinds.

This is tough, since lots of what you must do or want to do involves sitting, right? But wait. Breaking up endless time on your bum, even for a few minutes, breaks up the bad body karma. Key enzymes move, blood flows, mind and muscles flex. All it takes: Get up at least every 30 minutes. Get more water or coffee or a banana or the mail. Cruise the hallways. Pace when you’re on the phone. Stand and stretch.

Watch your favorite shows. Just don’t sit there. Cook, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher, ride a stationary bike (replace the couch with one -- we have), get up and dance to the theme music.

Is the TV thing that important? You bet. This just in: Staring at the tube for an average of six hours a day (versus none) shortens your life by five to 10 years. Get up! Get up!

The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.
    

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