Africa Studio/ShutterstockDid you know that coffee, a popular drink in countries worldwide, is consumed at a rate of 2.25 billion cups? That’s a lot of java. Did you also know that drinking coffee could help reduce your risk of liver cancer? That’s right—there are a number of health benefits of coffee.
Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the world, with nearly 800,000 cases diagnosed in 2012, according to the World Cancer Research Fund. It’s most prevalent in Asia and Africa, and is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
The BMJ Open journal recently published a study in which researchers from the University of Southampton and University of Edinburgh found that people who drink coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated) were less likely to develop hepatocellular cancer, the most common form of liver cancer.
After examining data collected from 26 studies, involving more than two million participants, the researchers found that coffee reduces cirrhosis and liver cancer in a “dose-dependent” manner, meaning the more you drink, the greater its cancer-preventing powers. Among their findings: An extra cup of coffee was linked to a 20 percent reduction in risk; an extra two cups of coffee a day was linked to a 35 percent reduction in hepatocellular cancer risk; and up to five cups of coffee daily was associated with a halving of the risk.
According to MedicalXpress, “the compound molecules found in coffee possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and other beneficial properties which scientists believe may explain the lower rates of chronic liver disease and liver cancer experienced by coffee-drinkers.
The authors suggest that developing coffee as a lifestyle intervention method for chronic liver disease is important, even if people consume decaf, which has a lesser effect but is still somewhat protective, according to guardian.com. Lead author of the study, Dr. Oliver Kennedy from the University of Southampton, told the Guardian, “Coffee is widely believed to possess a range of health benefits, and these latest findings suggest it could have a significant effect on liver cancer risk.”
This finding adds to the large body or research showing that coffee has numerous health benefits, but it’s not license to guzzle five cups a day, as more research is needed to understand coffee’s effects on different groups, such as pregnant women.
Whether you’re not taking advantage of coffee, there are other ways you may be hurting your liver.