Turns out, that extra coffee might end up saving your life.
Coffee lovers are 49% less likely to die of chronic liver disease (CLD) than non-coffee drinkers, according to a new study in the BMC Public Health journal. The report finds that drinking up to three or four cups of coffee, caffeinated or decaffeinated, a day reduces your risk of developing and dying from CLD.
"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," the study's lead author, Dr. Oliver Kennedy of the University of Southampton in the U.K., said in a statement. "This would be especially valuable in countries with lower income and worse access to healthcare and where the burden of chronic liver disease is highest."
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The study, which included 494,585 U.K. Biobank participants over 10.7 years, also found that coffee drinkers are 21% less likely to develop CLD and 20% less likely to develop CLD or fatty liver disease. The number of global deaths due to CLD has risen from 899,000 to 1.32 million, according the study.
Although instant coffee is also beneficial, the maximum benefit was seen in the group that drank ground coffee, which contains high levels of Kahweol and cafestol. The ingredients have been associated with reduced risks of CLD in animals.
As the study's participants were predominantly white and from a higher socio-economic background, the authors hope that future research could validate their findings with a more diverse group.
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The authors caution that participants' coffee consumption was only recorded when they first entered the study, which does not account for any changes in the amount or type of coffee they consumed over the 10-year period.