My love for coffee needs no introduction, but the scientific connection between coffee intake and liver health certainly merits one.
Surprised by this headline?
You aren’t alone – I could hardly believe the coincidence after stumbling upon significant scientific evidence suggesting regular coffee intake has the potential to improve liver health in a variety of contexts.
Given that coffee tends to contain more antioxidants (both in term of quantity, and variety) per serving than most foods, it is perhaps unsurprising that observational data continues to uncover novel associations related to its protective health effects.
In today’s post we’ll explore the benefits of coffee in terms of reducing one’s risk of both fatty liver disease and liver cancer, but also as it relates to its protective role in those who already have a fatty liver.
Let’s get to the good stuff!
Coffee Intake & Liver Cancer
Fatty liver disease may increase one’s risk of colorectal, lung and liver cancer.
Some of you may know that I’ve written previously for the American Institute For Cancer Research, an esteemed institution which shares evidence-based information on various aspects of cancer prevention.
The AICR is very cautious when making claims about a food or beverage’s role in cancer prevention, so when they acknowledge that consuming an average of one cup of coffee per day reduces liver cancer risk – you know there is something to it.
And it doesn’t end there.
Coffee Intake & Fatty Liver Risk
A 2021 study out of BMC Public Health supported the AICR in drawing their conclusions, but also demonstrated that as compared to non-coffee drinkers those who drink coffee regularly (regardless of decaf, instant or ground) had a lower risk of all types of chronic liver diseases including NAFLD.
These findings were further supported by 2021 systematic review & meta-analysis data out of Frontiers In Pharmacology which concluded;
“[M]ost studies showed that individuals in the general population who regularly drank coffee were significantly associated with a lower NAFLD incidence than those who did not.”
Taken together, there is some indication from the available observational evidence that coffee drinkers are at less risk of NAFLD than non drinker are.
Coffee Intake In Those With A Fatty Liver
Coffee may play a role in reducing one’s risk of ending up with a fatty liver, but does it help those who already have it?
It just might.
Fibrosis, or scarring of the liver, can occur in progressive fashion in those living with NAFLD and is a major sign that the condition is worsening.
Need Help With Fatty Liver? Call Me
Coffee intake appears to be beneficial to liver health in a variety of contexts which are likely driven by its robust antioxidant content given that the benefits were also found in decaf drinkers.
Drinking coffee, however, is only a small piece of the nutrition puzzle when it comes to fighting back against fatty liver disease.
If you need professional help putting those pieces together, I’m a call [647-886-2197] or e-mail away.
Andy De Santis RD MPH
Bonus – Green Tea Helps Too!