When you reach for your first cup of coffee in the morning, you’re probably looking for that kick-start of caffeine to get you going on the day. But researchers say there are even better reasons to reach for a cup of Joe, including lower risks of liver cancer.
New analysis of research data published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, which is the official clinical practice journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, reveals that coffee is good for your liver. The study shows that drinking coffee can reduce your risk of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by about 40 percent. HCC is the most common type of liver cancer. (1)
Other data shows that three cups of coffee per day may reduce your risk of liver cancer by more than 50 percent.
Researchers don’t know whether drinking coffee actually helps prevent liver cancer, or whether people who don’t have liver cancer drink coffee while people with liver cancer often voluntarily cut back on how much coffee they drink.
A 2012 study confirmed other benefits for the liver. It showed that caffeine from coffee reduces the risk of advanced fibrosis in people who have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). (2)
Other potential health benefits that can be found in your cup of coffee include:
• Lower risk of death – Coffee appears to add to the lifespan of some people with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
• Reproductive health – Men who drink at least six cups of coffee a day may have up to 20 percent less risk of prostate cancer. Women who drink more than four cups a day can have a 25 percent lower risk of endometrial cancer.
• Type 2 diabetes – A 2012 study showed that drinking a moderate amount of coffee such as three to four cups a day can lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 25 percent.
• Retain your brain – Drinking coffee may help protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
• Other cancers – Drinking coffee may also help lower your risk for the most commonly diagnosed type of skin cancer – basal cell carcinoma. It can also help reduce your risk of death from oral cancer by up to 50 percent. (3)
Of course, not everyone will receive the same benefits from drinking coffee. And some people should continue to avoid drinking coffee, including women who are pregnant or who are going through IVF treatments. People with difficulty sleeping should also avoid the caffeine found in coffee.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether coffee could be beneficial for your health.
Science Daily. Coffee Consumption Reduces Risk of Liver Cancer, Analysis Suggests. Web. October 22, 2013.
Science Daily. Coffee Consumption Reduces Fibrosis Risk in Those With Fatty Liver Disease, Study Suggests. Web. October 22, 2013.
Huffington Post. 9 Amazing Benefits of Coffee. Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. Web. October 22, 2013.
Reviewed October 23, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith