If you're reading this blog post, chances are you're a coffee lover. You now have a new reason to rejoice as recent studies have found that drinking black coffee may be one of the best things you can do for your liver.
For decades, the effect of coffee consumption on the liver has been a widely studied topic. With a multitude of positive results, it’s becoming increasingly clear that coffee may not deserve the bad reputation it sometimes receives. While the reasoning behind coffee's health benefits remains speculative, researchers believe it may have to do with the beverages antioxidant effects.
A 2022 study by researchers in the U.S. concluded that coffee is associated with lower liver stiffness, an important indicator of liver health. These findings build on the foundation of previous research from 2021, including an analysis of 11 epidemiological studies showing coffee consumption reduces the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a leading cause of chronic liver disease. Additionally, a study from the UK concluded that all types of black coffee are protective against chronic liver disease.
Coffee may seem like an unexpected champion in the realm of liver health, but research reveals that consuming moderate amounts of black coffee, even the decaffeinated version, may significantly reduce the risk or slow the progression of various liver conditions. In fact, data suggests that just one daily cup of black coffee could diminish the risk of chronic liver disease by as much as 15 per cent. At three to four cups a day, this risk reduction rises to a staggering 71 per cent. Additionally, it may also slow the progression of liver disease for some patients.
While coffee is not a cure-all, the compounds and antioxidants in black coffee can play a role in reducing liver damage. Your liver processes virtually everything you ingest – and absorb through your skin – and these natural elements are known to shield the liver from harm. Moreover, coffee offers cancer-fighting properties and anti-inflammatory effects, and it has been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes.
Coffee has been found to be beneficial regardless of how it’s prepared, whether it's caffeinated, decaffeinated, drip, French press, filtered, instant, or espresso.
The incidence of liver disease is at an all-time high in Canada. With 1 in 4 Canadians now affected by liver disease, up from 1 in 10 just a decade ago, and at least 25% of adults living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. However, before you start devouring shots after shots of espresso for days to come in the name of liver health, there is one important caveat about coffee and your liver health that are worth mentioning: dousing your coffee with lots of cream and sugar can counteract the benefits of this powerful beverage, so use these in moderation or try it black!
It is also essential to emphasize that coffee consumption must go along with a balanced diet, and that the studies don’t reflect the effects of sweetened coffee beverages.
Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, adequate protein, and healthy fats, as well as exercising regularly, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink, and drinking plenty of water, are all key to living a liver-friendly lifestyle. In the meantime, go ahead and savour your daily cups of coffee knowing that you're doing it also for your liver health!