Coffee gives us that little extra energy push in the mornings. It smells and tastes great and Americans have embraced it as their drink of choice, with just a bit less than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. drinking at least one cup a day. What’s more, coffee drinkers are drinking an average of almost three cups a day (2.7 cups).
In addition to giving us the energy to do that which needs to be done, coffee has been proven to have several health benefits:
- It can lower the incidence of Parkinson’s disease.
- It can reduce the incidence of liver cancer by as much as 40 percent (possibly even by 50 percent if you drink at least three cups a day).
- Drinking coffee in moderation (no more than two 8-ounce cups a day), can protect somewhat against heart disease.
- Coffee – caffeinated and decaf – can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
You may already have heard of these benefits, especially the heart-healthy benefits coffee possesses. But did you also know that coffee can protect you from liver disease as well as cirrhosis of the liver, particularly alcohol-related cirrhosis.
What About Decaf Coffee’s Liver Health Benefits?
Most studies perform their research using caffeinated coffee, so it hasn’t been clear if decaf also has the same benefits for your liver.
But a few recent studies are showing that decaf coffee also lowers enzyme levels in the liver, so it’s not the caffeine in coffee that provides this liver benefit, wonderful news for those who are concerned about their liver’s health, but who want to cut back on caffeine.
A 2014 study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study, a CDC survey used to assess the health of people living in the U.S. Participants of the survey were interviewed and also had a physical exam, including blood tests.
Researchers looked at almost 28,000 people (ages 20 and up) who mentioned how much coffee they had consumed within the past 24 hours. Researchers also looked at their blood samples for liver health markers and found that those individuals who self-reported drinking three or more cups a day had lower liver enzyme levels than people who did not. What’s more, it didn’t matter whether the coffee was caffeinated or decaf – coffee’s effect on liver enzyme levels were almost exactly the same.
So keep drinking that coffee!! Decaf or caffeinated. Your liver, your blood sugar and your heart thank you with each sip.