Coffee is one of the world’s favorite beverages consumed by millions of people for many reasons. Not only is coffee a delicious drink, but for many of us it is the kick-start to our day. There is an extensive body of research in support of its health-boosting benefits. Studies have shown coffee can improve heart health, increase energy, and even aid in diabetes. And these are just a few notable examples.
The latest findings have shown that coffee can help support good liver health.
Coffee supports a healthy liver
The new research shows drinking six cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of severe liver disease. The study sought to address the problem of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is quickly growing to be the number one threat to our livers.
More and more people are living sedentary lifestyles, meaning, they are sitting more and moving less. Lack of activity and the standard Western diet are contributing to the pressing problem – our ever-growing waistlines. Fatter waistlines mean more fat infiltrating our livers making them sick.
To conduct their study, the researchers fed mice high-fat diets along with high volumes of coffee to see if it would offer protective effects to the liver. The coffee equivalent for the mice was close to six cups of espresso for a human weighing 154 lbs.
The mice who received the coffee had fewer signs of fatty liver disease and gained less weight, compared to other mice that were fed the same diet but did not consume any coffee.
The researchers suggest that coffee helps improve the structure of the intestine, pumping up its ability to filter out harmful substances, which would normally end up in the liver.
Researcher Vincenzo Lembo said, “Previous studies have confirmed how coffee can reverse the damage of NAFLD, but this is the first to demonstrate that it can influence the permeability of the intestine. The results also show that coffee can reverse NAFLD-related problems such as ballooning degeneration, a form of liver cell degeneration.”
The study doesn’t suggest that you should start consuming coffee in large amounts, but it does offer a stepping stone to study the properties of coffee in order to create better treatments for liver disease. Current coffee consumption guidelines do not recommend over 400 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to five cups. For some people who are more sensitive to caffeine, even the recommended limit may be too much. Listen to your body to see how caffeine affects you in order to choose the appropriate dose.
In the meantime, reduce your intake of fatty foods and get more active if you want to protect your liver.