Drinking more coffee may actually lower your risk of colorectal cancer, as scientists have found that those who drink coffee are less likely to develop this type of cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer that is diagnosed in both men and women in the U.S. In fact, nearly five percent of men and just over four percent of women develop the disease over their lifetime.

In this latest study, researchers looked at 5,100 men and women who had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer within the past six months. They also looked at 4,000 more men and women who had no history of this type of cancer.

The participants told the scientists their daily consumption of boiled, instant, decaffeinated and filtered coffee. They also reported their consumption of other liquids in addition to their family history of cancer, diet, physical activity, and whether or not they smoked.

So what did the researchers find? It turns that even modern coffee consumption of one to two servings per day was associated with a 26 percent reduction of the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Not only that, but this risk decreased by up to 50 percent when participants drank more than 2.5 servings per day.

"We found that drinking coffee is associated with lower risk of colorectal cancer, and the more coffee consumed, the lower the risk," said Stephen Gruber, senior author of the new study and director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. "We are somewhat surprised to see that caffeine did not seem to matter. This indicates that caffeine alone is not responsible for coffee's protective properties."

So what exactly gives coffee its beneficial properties? The levels of compounds largely depend on the bean, roast, and brewer method. However, it possesses many components that may counteract cancer. The caffeine and polyphenol in coffee can act as antioxidants. In addition, the melanoidins that are created during the roasting process may increase colon mobility, and diterpenes may prevent cancer by improving the body against oxidative damage.

With that said, the findings are still preliminary. The researchers stress that they'll need to conduct further studies before advocating coffee as a prevention method. This is especially true since there are a few healthy risks when it comes to coffee consumption.

The findings were published in the April 2016 journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.