A new study shows that drinking four cups of coffee a day may help prevent deadly disease, and may even counter the damage caused by unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits. (One cup of herbal tea also offers the same protection.)
Previous evidence suggested that coffee and tea could have a protective effect on liver tissue, but the results haven’t been conclusive. Now for the first time, scientists have confirmed the potential benefits of these beloved beverages.
Researchers studied a sample of over 2,400 people 45 years and older living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to understand what (if any) effect the beverages had on liver health.
The results showed that coffee consumption was significantly associated with less stiffness and scarring of liver tissue, even when other lifestyle and dietary factors were controlled for.
Frequent consumption of both coffee and tea in smaller quantities was also associated with less liver stiffness. This suggests that that drinking just a little of either each day may help prevent long-term damage over time.
“The exact mechanism is unknown but it is thought that coffee exerts antioxidant effects,” said the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Sarwa Darwish Murad.
While more research is needed, these findings may contribute life-saving developments for liver health. The vital organ performs in the neighborhood of 500 vital functions (second only to the brain), and chronic liver disease is the twelfth leading cause of death worldwide.
Due to the inexpensive beverages’ popularity, experts say they could potentially become important in preventing liver disease.
Compiled by Kyra Auffermann, NCA