All too often we read articles about what is and isn’t healthy for us to be consuming. Treats such as cups of coffee are often on the list with a whole host of reasons as to why this beverage is incredibly bad for you. However, more recently, it has been linked to a range of more positive effects, some medical. And now, one study shows that coffee could actually protect your liver from the adverse effects of booze.
The Benefits of Coffee
Some research has suggested that coffee has anti-cancer properties, which is a massive positive. Other studies have shown that coffee has some aphrodisiac properties (ooh-er). Now, a new positive finding has been released. A recent study has shown that drinking just two cups of coffee a day could actually begin to reduce the risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis, the scarring of the liver that can lead to liver failure, by a whopping 43%.
The Dangers of Cirrhosis
The number of people who die from cirrhosis is on a huge rise. Over a thirty year period, from 1980 to 2010, the number of deaths from cirrhosis rose to an all-time high, increasing from an already huge 675,000 to over one million deaths.
Cirrhosis can happen to anybody and is brought on by a wide variety of factors which can include alcoholism and obesity – two very big problems around the world. Both alcoholism and obesity are forms of addiction that lead to the body beginning to over produce fibrous connective tissue, like the collagen in the liver. This creates scar tissue where there should be healthy tissue and leads to cirrhosis. At the moment, alcoholism sits at the top as the number one cause, but obesity is not too far behind and it’s believed that at some point soon, it will take over the top spot.
Previously, scientists had found through their research and studies that caffeine put into the body via a cup of coffee helped to protect the body from any abnormal liver functions and/or fibrosis. However, until now, there has never been any comprehensive analysis conducted of any of the data found. This lead to a team of scientists taking data from pre-existing studies that had been looking into the links between coffee drinking and cirrhosis and publishing their results in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Their compilation of data showed that of the 430,000 participants from the previous studies, 1,990 cases of cirrhosis were reported. Their research showed that drinking just one cup of coffee a day contributed towards a 22% drop in the risk of developing cirrhosis. Two cups of coffee a day created a 43% drop, three cups had a 57% drop and four had a 65% drop. These results are staggering and show that quite evidently, coffee isn’t as bad as people say!
The only thing that is yet to be discovered is exactly how coffee reduces the risk of getting cirrhosis. There have been vague suggestions that it is to do with the anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties that the drink possesses but nothing has been made definite yet. In addition to this setback, scientists have also had to issue statements of clarification; coffee only decreases the risk of alcohol-related cirrhosis, not obesity or hepatitis or even diabetes. Furthermore, there has been no further research into which kind of coffee works and if different coffees have the same affect.
Whilst there is still some limitations in this research, it’s safe to say that for now, at least one cup of coffee a day won’t hurt you. So head over to your favourite coffee shop and grab a cup of java!