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Coffee May Protect Your Liver

Coffee has a sublime taste that I enjoy – whether I’m sitting out on my deck having a cup while watching the world go by, or out on the farm alternating sips with bites of a Rum Cake with farm animals roaming around.

That’s the main reason everyone drinks coffee – its flavor is one of life’s little pleasures.

I expect most people don’t know that there are a lot of other reasons to drink coffee – all of them health-related.

For decades, medical researchers around the world have conducted studies on the health benefits, or dangers, of the various foods we eat and liquids we consume – including coffee.

I recently saw an article in a coffee trade magazine reporting on a new study done by researchers in Australia. They’d compiled a lot of info from previous studies in order to “estimate the potential impact that increased coffee consumption would have on global liver-related mortality.”

What they found was that “compared to non-coffee drinkers, people who drink 2 to 3 cups of coffee daily had a 38% reduction in hepatocellular carcinoma (the most common type of liver cancer) and a 46% reduction in risk of death rom chronic liver disease (CLD). In people who drank four or more cups a day, the risk went down even more.

To put that in concrete numbers, their findings predicted that the number of liver-illness-related deaths, around the world, in 2016 would have been 630,947 and 452,861 deaths would have been prevented.

What Causes Liver Damage?

When people hear that someone has liver disease, they automatically think of cirrhosis of the liver. And when we think of cirrhosis of the liver, we automatically think of over-indulgence in alcohol.

But cirrhosis can also be caused by other things.

For example, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is caused by “extensive accumulation of fat in the liver” – which in turn is caused by an unhealthy diet.  Unfortunately, the “Western diet”, also called the “Happy Diet,” is distinguished by a consumption of unhealthy foods such as processed foods that lack nutrients, and artificial sugars.

Coffee Health Benefit Studies

When I read this most recent article, I wasn’t surprised at the conclusions.

Other scientific journals and even the mainstream media has been reporting for several years on the potential health benefits of drinking coffee.

Way back in 2017 Science Daily reported on a study conducted at a university in the Netherlands, which also showed the benefits to the liver of drinking coffee. 

Reuters news agency, in 2016, had also reported the same types of findings

Of course, we do have to be careful when reading news reports and “parsing” what’s being said.

 

For example, that article from Reuters had a headline that said, “Drinking more coffee may undo liver damage from booze.”

The headline was misleading – and was probably written by someone whose job it was to write catch headlines, not by the authors of the article.

The article itself points out that coffee doesn’t undo damage that already exists – it’s not a cure for cirrhosis! But what coffee does, potentially, is help prevent new liver disease.

The Kind of Coffee Matters

Coffee can help prevent liver disease – but it depends on the type of coffee consumed!

Lattes, for example, filled with sugar and slathered with whipped cream, are not going to help the liver.

It’s the pure, unadulterated coffee – whether mild, medium or strong – that does the job. Of course my favorite is Hawaiian 100% kona coffee which is the purest you can get.

More studies have to be done, of course – researchers know that coffee has “good outcomes” as they call it, for helping to prevent liver disease, but they still don’t know why.