Many Americans require at least one cup of coffee to start their day, however, others may drink double or triple that amount. Historically, drinking numerous cups of coffee has been frowned upon, since research has shown that consuming too much caffeine can cause headaches, anxiety, and even reduced fertility in women. However, a new coffee study condones drinking three to four cups of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee a day.
According to the study, which was published in the journal BMC Public Health, finds that coffee drinkers were 21% less likely to develop chronic liver disease, 20% less likely to develop chronic or fatty liver disease, and 49% less likely to die from chronic liver disease than non-coffee drinkers.
"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," said study author Dr. Oliver Kennedy, who is on the medical faculty of the University of Southampton in the UK, in a statement shared with CNN. "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," Kennedy said.
The study examined coffee consumption among nearly 495,000 participants of the UK Biobank (a biomedical database and research resource) for almost 12 years. The maximum benefit was seen in the group who drank ground coffee, however, those who drank instant coffee did see some benefits as well. Researchers speculate this is because ground coffee has higher levels of two antioxidants—kahweol and cafestol—both of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
This isn't the first study to demonstrate the potential health benefits a cup of java can have on your liver. In fact, a 2017 study led by the same study author found that drinking coffee reduced the risk of hepatocellular cancer, aka the most common form of liver cancer. Other studies have shown that coffee can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and heart failure.
Of course, it's important to note that most of these studies are done on black coffee, so if you're adding creamers or sweeteners, that can cancel out the beverage's benefits.
For more, be sure to check out the Side Effects of Drinking Caffeine, According to Science.