Having a cup of coffee is the only way I can get my morning started on the right foot — and since I’m an early riser, I often find myself needing an extra cup (or two!) throughout the day to keep me energized. I used to be slightly worried about my coffee consumption, and even considered switching to decaf as a better option. But new research has me feeling much better about my habit: A recent study revealed that drinking three to four cups of coffee a day can help reduce chronic liver disease risk!
A study published in BMC Public Health noted that drinking coffee has previously been linked with lower rates of chronic liver disease (CLD). But in this study, researchers wanted to know whether different types of coffee — such as instant, decaf, ground coffee, and espresso — offer more benefits than others.
The study included 494,585 participants from the United Kingdom, some of whom were regular coffee drinkers, and some who didn’t drink it at all. Participants filled out questionnaires asking what types of coffee, and how much, they consumed each day. The study’s authors also collected additional data on participants’ health history to better understand this connection between CLD and coffee consumption.
The good news? Researchers found that drinking three to four cups of coffee overall was associated with a 21 percent decreased risk of CLD, compared to non-coffee drinkers.
What type of coffee is best for your liver?
The question is, when it comes to coffee and liver disease, is one kind of coffee better than another? The study’s authors said the people who drank regular coffee brewed from grounds experienced the maximum benefit — because ground coffee is packed with natural compounds called kahweol and cafestol, which have previously been shown to improve liver function.
Although instant coffee has lower levels of those beneficial compounds, due to its extraction process, researchers said it was still associated with a lower likelihood of CLD. Espresso, and even decaf coffee(!), were found to decrease the risk of CLD as well.
Whatever your favorite brew, researchers concluded that drinking a few cups each day could help you avoid CLD altogether. “Coffee is widely accessible, and the benefits we see from our study may mean it could offer a potential preventative treatment for chronic liver disease,” lead study author, Oliver Kennedy, MD, PhD, said in a statement.
This news should give us coffee lovers all the more reason to not feel guilty pouring ourselves an extra few cups of joe during the day. Me? I’m going to use this as an excuse to try out some flavorful add-ins that also offer liver protection, like cocoa powder and hot sauce!