Is Coffee Good for Your Liver
When people talk about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, you probably don’t generally associate drinking coffee with being healthy.
As amazing as drinking coffee is, the beverage itself is not considered especially healthy, despite it offering multiple health benefits.
As far as our general health and wellbeing is concerned coffee consumption can help to protect against a wide range of health issues and ailments, including liver disease and issues affecting the liver.
Each of our vital organs has a role to play in the body in some form or another, yet the liver is often overlooked in favour of organs such as the heart, or the brain.
Chronic liver disease for example, can be caused by all manner of things, and with liver cancer also a very serious risk, looking after the liver is crucial.
Recently, experts have discovered that coffee consumption could actually be linked with improved liver health, which is great news for coffee drinkers.
Does that mean that you can drink endless cups of coffee each day? Sadly not.
In any event, here’s a look at how drinking coffee could help prevent liver health issues.
What is the liver?
The liver is a vital internal organ located in the upper-right hand side of your abdominal cavity.
Your liver is conically shaped and is designed primarily to help detoxify and purify your blood by essentially filtering the blood. The liver holds as much as 13% of the body’s blood supply at any given time.
More than 60% of the liver consists of cells known as hepatocytes, which work by filtering harmful toxins from the body and removing dangerous toxins and substances from the blood.
Liver cells (hepatocytes) typically last for 150 days and play key roles in liver health and protecting the liver from conditions such as fatty liver disease, liver cancer, and various other liver diseases which could cause serious problems.
How does the liver function?
Your liver, as mentioned, helps to regulate chemicals in the blood and helps to purify the blood and remove toxins for it.
A healthy liver means that the likelihood of you experiencing things such as fatty liver disease, and liver cancer are all greatly reduced.
Like we looked at before, coffee drinkers may be in luck because there is evidence that drinking cups of coffee each day can help improve liver health, but we’ll get to that later. First, we need to know how the liver works.
Your liver helps regulate chemicals in the blood and helps to remove harmful toxins and waste products by producing a substance known as bile. For liver health, healthy bile production is essential.
As blood leaves the intestines and stomach, it passes through the liver. Your liver then acts as a filtration device and helps to process the blood, balance chemicals, and remove toxins and impurities.
When we focus on liver health and the prevention of chronic liver diseases, the liver plays a key role in more than 400 physiological processes within the body, so that alone should show you just how important this organ is.
As far as diet is concerned, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to unstable liver enzyme levels and liver disease in general, but coffee consumption may actually be beneficial for the liver.
Coffee consumption and liver health
If you like to start your day by drinking several cups of coffee, then as coffee drinkers you’ll know why this beverage is so popular.
Drinking coffee isn’t just a great way to wake up because of the caffeine, it’s also a great way to relax and enjoy yourself as the drink tastes so darned good.
While coffee consumption is largely associated with waking up and feeling alert because of the stimulating effects of caffeine, drinking coffee can also be a relaxing experience if you go with decaffeinated coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee gives you the same great taste of coffee, with virtually zero stimulating effects as it contains virtually no caffeine at all.
As tasty as coffee is, coffee consumption has also been found to help protect against liver disease and provide numerous health benefits for the liver.
One study for example, noted how drinking just one or two cups of coffee each day, could reduce a person’s risk of chronic liver disease by as much as 15%.
Drinking four cups per day reduced the risk of chronic liver diseases and liver disease progression by as much as 71%.
Liver stiffness and coffee consumption
As if that wasn’t reason enough to increase the number of cups of coffee you drink each day and up your coffee intake, another recent study has found that regular coffee consumption could help to reduce liver stiffness.
Liver stiffness is a marker for scar tissue in the liver and could indicate other health complications affecting this organ.
Liver stiffness measurement, also known as LSM, is a tool used by health practitioners as way to non-invasively measure and/or diagnose liver fibrosis.
Liver fibrosis occurs when healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue and subsequently cannot function as well as it should. It is the initial stage of liver scarring, and again, this scar tissue formation can be prevented by increasing your coffee intake.
Liver disease and drinking black coffee
Liver disease is a blanket term used to describe any number of issues affecting the function and health of the liver.
Basically, any disease that affects the liver could be classed as liver disease, though some of the main causes include:
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Unhealthy diet
- Drug use
While it is by no means considered a cure, drinking black coffee has been found to offer a wide range of health benefits to the liver.
There is also evidence to suggest that drinking black coffee can slow the progression of liver disease in a variety of different patients, from all walks of life.
What is fatty liver disease (FLD)?
FLD, also known as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a collective term given to describe a number of different conditions caused by large levels of fat in and around the liver.
The liver basically becomes encased in a layer of fat, which affects how the organ functions, and puts it at risk of other, more serious health complications.
Typically there are no symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, though some people may experience bloating, stomach cramps, or fatigue, in more severe cases.
Liver cancer and coffee consumption
Non coffee drinkers may wish to pay attention here.
While we are in no way stating that increasing your coffee consumption is a guaranteed way to prevent liver cancer, there are studies out there which have found coffee to be beneficial when it comes to liver cancer.
Research points to the fact that coffee consumption in moderate amounts could actually reduce a person’s risk of liver cancer. This evidence is even backed up by the WHO (World Health Organization).
Ideally you should aim for no more than 4 cups of coffee each day, along with plenty of exercise and a healthy diet.
Good Tasting Coffee: How to Identify Coffee Flavors
In order to appreciate the different types of coffee available, it's important to cultivate an awareness of its unique characteristics. Let's take a look at the way coffee connoisseurs judge different cups of coffee.
The scent of a cup of coffee has a direct influence on how we perceive its flavor. As you drink coffee try to notice if the scent is smoky, fruity, earthy, spicy, nutty or grassy.
One of the most defining characteristics of a cup of coffee is its acidity. This is the sharp, bright tangy quality of coffee that perks up our senses. Coffee doesn’t necessarily contain just one type of acid, either. It may contain citric acid, malic acid (fruity in flavor) or even quinic acid from stale coffee, which gives us stomach aches.
This is the weight, thickness and texture of coffee in your mouth. The body of different types of coffee falls on a spectrum of light- to full-bodied viscosity (thin to thick).
This is where comparisons come in handy and there is some overlap between aroma and flavor. Your coffee might taste bitter, sweet, savory or sour with common comparisons to chocolate, wine or fruit.