Coffee is used by much of the world as a daily energizer, but many don’t know that it has a whole laundry list of beneficial health effects. These include lowered risk for dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. However, is coffee bad for your liver? It’s a fair question, especially for those at risk of developing liver conditions.
As it turns out, moderate coffee consumption is perfectly healthy for your liver. This study suggests that drinking 2 cups of coffee a day is linked with a 43% decreased risk of liver cancer.1 At 4 cups a day, this benefit can increase to as much as a 65% reduction.
Coffee may also reduce other liver conditions, like fibrosis (liver scarring) and cirrhosis. As if that’s not enough, drinking coffee can help reduce liver damage from excessive drinking and eating.
Why Is Coffee Good for the Liver?
When your body processes the caffeine in coffee, it creates a chemical called paraxanthine. This compound helps to fight liver fibrosis, liver cancer, cirrhosis from alcoholism, hepatitis C, and fatty liver disease. The acid in coffee is thought to help fight the virus that causes hepatitis B, but the jury’s still out on that one.
Two other chemicals in coffee, kahweol and cafestol, are known to fight all types of cancer. The precise benefits are still unclear, but scientists say drinking coffee can help complement conventional liver cancer treatments.
The best part is that you don’t have to prepare your coffee any differently to enjoy these benefits. Both men and women can drink instant, pour-over, espresso, or any other type of coffee to receive these health benefits.
Can Coffee Help Treat Liver Conditions?
Drinking coffee and liver disease may be a good combo, but there are other important variables you have to consider, like other health conditions and sensitivity to caffeine.
For some people, coffee can exacerbate or increase the chances of certain conditions. For instance, coffee is known to worsen gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease and GERD. In those with high cholesterol or blood pressure levels, caffeine can raise these to dangerously high levels.
Other people may be sensitive to caffeine and experience unpleasant side effects like jitteriness, anxiety, and racing heart rate. Most people have probably drunk a cup too many and experienced these, and the symptoms resolve in time. If you suspect you drank a dangerously high amount of coffee, call a doctor or visit the emergency room.
The key to using coffee to enhance your health safely is to consume it in moderation, and if you have a health condition, only after you clear it with your doctor. In some cases, coffee may not interact well with certain medications. If you’re unsure, consult with your doctor about whether they consider coffee safe for you to drink.
What Other Health Benefits Does Coffee Have?
Coffee has been found to confer numerous other health benefits besides helping the liver, and regularly drinking a cup or two can help improve your health and prevent disease. Let’s check out some of these benefits.
To put it simply, coffee can have some benefits on the liver. However, you should be careful about how much you’re consuming, as there are other serious side effects of drinking too much coffee.
Featured Image Credit: Kimiya Oveisi, Unsplash