Regular coffee drinkers who feel guilty about the habit might not have to. According to a new study, drinking coffee may help protect the liver.
To gather information for their study, researchers carefully reviewed the habits of 27,793 people who completed diet questionnaires from a health study which took place between 1999 and 2010. Additionally, the researchers examined blood levels of four enzymes that reveal details regarding liver function.
Of the 27,793 people considered, over 14,000 were coffee drinkers. After controlling for differentiating factors like education, race, sex, smoking, and age, the researchers found that the individuals who consumed three cups each day had a 25% less chance of having abnormal levels of liver enzymes. Additionally, the 2,000 people who consumed only decaffeinated coffee had similarly positive results.
Although the results of this research are pleasantly surprising, the reason for the effect remains unknown. According to lead author Gianfrancesco Genoso and cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute Qian Xiao, coffee contains over a thousand compounds. For this reason, researchers cannot identify which one is responsible for the results they found.