Coffee’s good for your liver, scientists say

If you ever feel bad about the fact that you need a strong cup of dark roast to get you up in the morning, here’s some good news. A new report from the National Cancer Institute says that drinking coffee could be good for your liver. Their study, which is now published in the journal Hepatology, showed a link between coffee and lower levels of abnormal liver enzymes.

Over 27,000 people aged 20 or older recorded their coffee intake over 24 hours. Researchers then measured the blood levels of aminotransferase (ALT), aminotransferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma glutamyl transaminase (GGT), all of which are linked with liver problems. People who drank three or more cups of coffee a day had lower levels of ALT, AST, ALP and GGT compared to those who drank less or none.

The bad news is you don’t necessarily need caffeine. The same benefits were found with decaffeinated coffee. And because the beneficial properties seem to be from the coffee itself, caffeinated fizzy drinks don’t have the same effects. (In fact, pretty much the opposite.)

Coffee is the most popular drink in the world, and despite our well-publicised love of tea, according to the British Coffee Association, we drink 70 million cups of coffee a day in the UK. Unfortunately, 74% of UK drinkers are pouring themselves a sad cup of instant coffee, rather than drinking the fresh stuff, which is what you need to get these health benefits.

Past studies have linked coffee to a lowered risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. The researchers now want to go on to find out exactly which properties of the drink contain the beneficial effect.

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If you’re not bothered by wearables at all, but still want help with keeping fit, check out our feature on 10 kitchen gadgets, tools and utensils for healthy living.

Diane Shipley