OK, yes, I know: Another coffee study? Seriously? How many claims can one drink make? But trust me, you're going to want to pay attention to this one: The World Cancer Research Fund in London and the American Institute for Cancer Research teamed up on a study looking at how coffee consumption might connect to liver cancer — and they found strong evidence that drinking coffee regularly can prevent liver cancer. The study was solid and the data set is huge, too; it even resulted in some revised guidelines for cancer prevention. Here's how it went down:
The researchers gathered their data from 34 previously conducted studies; all in all, their data set encompassed eight million men and women and 24,600 cases of liver cancer. From looking at all those numbers — and given the size of the data set, there were a lot of them — they determined that coffee can, in fact, protect against liver cancer: Said the study, “The evidence for coffee was generally consistent, and the dose-response meta-analysis showed a significant decreased risk of liver cancer per one cup per day. This was consistent with findings from three published meta-analyses.” The benefits were greatest for those who drank three alcoholic beverages per day. Hoorah!
As a result of their study, the World Cancer Research Fund International added the following guideline to their Cancer Prevention Recommendations: To lower your risk for developing liver cancer, limit your drinking to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women — but if you drink three drinks, then at least have a cup of coffee to help mitigate the effects of the booze on your liver.
The best part? This study isn't just hanging out on its own. Back in October, a previous study also found a link between coffee consumption and decreased risk for liver cancer. Published in the journal Hepatology, the study compared the coffee-drinking habits of 27,793 people and how well their livers were functioning based on the presence of four particular enzymes in their blood. Over 14,000 of the participants were coffee drinkers, with 2,000 of them consuming solely decaf — and hey, guess what? Those who drank three cups a day, caffeinated or decaf, were 25 percent less likely to have abnormal levels of enzymes in their blood than those who didn't drink coffee at all.
Furthermore, the just-released 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines and Advisory Committee officially ruled that coffee is acceptable for “[incorporation] into a healthy lifestyle.” States the report, “Strong and consistent evidence shows that consumption of coffee within the moderate range” — that is, three to five cups and no more than 400mg of caffeine — “is not associated with increased risk of major chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer and premature death in health adults.” The benefits are even greater if you take your coffee black (for obvious reasons — cream and sugar, while delicious, are kind of awful for you, especially in high quantities).
Drink up! As with all things, moderation is key — but drinking at least one cup of coffee a day might be worth it. It's always nice when something that helps keep your system running properly tastes really awesome, too, right?
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