You may have picked the wrong week to give up coffee. The benefits of a piping hot cup are myriad—from reducing the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s to boosting a man’s sex drive and warding off depression, among others.
Now a new study suggests coffee drinking can lower the risk of cirrhosis, the liver condition that can arise from drinking excessive amounts of booze. Researchers from Southampton University in the United Kingdom analyzed data from nine other studies involving 430,000 people and found (in eight of those studies) that ”increasing coffee consumption by two cups a day was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of cirrhosis.” The new study found drinking two cups of coffee each day lowered the risk of developing liver cirrhosis by 44 percent, with the risk reduction increasing to 65 percent with four cups per day.
“Cirrhosis is potentially fatal and there is no cure as such,” said lead study author Oliver Kennedy, M.D., of Southampton University. “Therefore, it is significant that the risk of developing cirrhosis may be reduced by consumption of coffee, a cheap, ubiquitous and well-tolerated beverage.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can now go hog wild with the gin and juice, thinking you can compensate by mainlining coffee the next day. Though this new research shows coffee contains compounds that have antioxidant effects and anti-inflammatory properties, drinking a few cups of coffee a day can’t undo damage resulting from years of being overweight or obese, living a sedentary lifestyle, drinking excessive amounts of booze or eating unhealthy foods.
An earlier study found coffee drinking can help maintain a healthy liver.