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Coffee & Tea Protect Your Liver

A few cups of tea or coffee daily might be beneficial for your liver, says a new study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

Coffee and herbal tea a day might keep the doctor away, suggests new research conducted by researchers from Erasmus MC University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The two beverages are found to be beneficial to the health, protecting from liver fibrosis, a condition characterised by chronic inflammation; it is ‘measured’ in terms of stiffness marked by extensive scarring of the liver.

Liver disease is generally associated with unhealthy lifestyles, and can thus be prevented or reversed by healthier choices.

The past few decades have witnessed a drastic shift towards unhealthy eating habits, leading to a rise in a number of medical conditions, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The latter is caused by an excessive accumulation of fat in the liver, explains study lead author Louise J. M. Alferink.

According to him, NAFLD resembles alcoholic liver disease in individuals consuming not more than 2 alcoholic drinks daily. In a context where more and more people are being affected by such diseases because of their eating choices, finding accessible and cheap salubrious strategies like coffee and tea consumption might be an effective way to curb the prevalence of liver disease, explain the researchers.

Furthermore, previous studies have indicated the benefits of coffee on liver enzyme elevations, viral hepatitis, NAFLD, cirrhosis, and liver cancer, says co-author Sarwa Darwish Murad. Coffee is also associated with beneficial anti-oxidants properties that might be boosting health. This is why Murad and colleagues wanted to determine the effect of coffee consumption on liver stiffness in patients of chronic liver disease.

A group of 2,424 participants were involved in the study. Their blood samples were taken together with measurements of liver stiffness. They also had to fill in a Food Frequency Questionnaire.

The results show that frequent coffee consumption was significantly linked with a lower risk of high liver stiffness. Furthermore, both coffee and herbal tea consumption (regardless of amount thereof) were significantly associated with lower liver stiffness values. Additionally, coffee appeared to lower liver stiffness.

The authors, thus, conclude that both drinks consumed frequently seem to generate positive effects on the liver by preventing liver scarring even before liver disease is developed.

However, the interpretation of the findings should be done within a certain context: the fact that the study included only Caucasian participants of older age groups with few control groups should be taken into consideration, caution University of Palermo’s Salvatore Petta, and “Alma Mater” University’s Giulio Marchesini. The two scientists explain that more studies have to be done before regular tea and coffee breaks are recommended to protect the liver.

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