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The Big Number: Coffee seen reducing risk of chronic liver disease by 21 percent

by Mary Sewell

Having coffee — ground or instant, caffeinated or decaf — may be suitable for your liver, reducing your risk of chronic liver disease by 21 percent, compared with those who do not drink coffee. In addition, those who drink three to four cups of coffee a day are roughly half as likely to die of chronic liver disease and 20 percent less likely to develop the fatty liver disease (steatosis) or liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma). These findings are based on about a decade of data on nearly a half-million people recently published in the journal BMC Public Health.

The numbers are in sync with recent research that has found various health benefits for coffee drinkers, although coffee consumption can still come with risks. On the plus side, coffee has been linked to a reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, endometrial cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and depression, according to the American Heart

Association and Harvard’s School of Public Health. But coffee is not for everyone, especially caffeinated coffee, risky for children, pregnant women, and people with panic or anxiety disorders. For anyone, too much caffeine can cause jitters, nausea, and headaches; boost blood pressure and heart rate, and lead to insomnia. Also, coffee of any sort can lose some of its benefits if too much cream and sugar are added. The latest research also notes that lower risks for liver problems were linked to all types of coffee, even instant — but ground coffee, including espresso, had the most significant effect.

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