That morning cup of joe that gets your day going also can protect your liver, according to a new study published in the journal BMC Public Health.
Drinking any type of coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated, ground (including espresso) or instant — reduces your risk of chronic liver disease and related liver conditions, according to researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom.
The benefit appears to be greatest for those who drink three to four cups per day.
Researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank on nearly a half-million participants who were followed over a median of 10.7 years.
Among study participants, 78% drank coffee, while 22% did not. Coffee drinkers had a:
- 21% reduced risk of chronic liver disease
- 20% reduced risk of chronic liver disease or steatosis (aka fatty liver disease)
- 49% reduced risk of death from chronic liver disease
According to the study findings:
“The maximum benefit was seen in the group who drank ground coffee, which contains high levels of the ingredients Kahweol and cafestol, which have been shown to be beneficial against chronic liver disease in animals.”
Throughout the study period, there were 3,600 cases of chronic liver disease, including 301 deaths. There also were 5,439 cases of chronic liver disease or steatosis, and 184 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.
The researchers cautioned that participants were predominantly white and from a higher socio-economic background. That means it is unknown if these findings would apply to other countries and populations, particularly poorer nations, where the impact of chronic liver disease is more pronounced.
This is not the first time coffee has been linked to improved health. A few years ago, research from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh revealed that coffee may protect you against developing hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of primary liver cancer.
If you love java, check out “16 Products That Coffee Drinkers Will Love.”
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