Oh, yeah, You read that right. COFFEE. Listen, if you travel in the circles of the hippies, like I do… Coffee has a totally bad rap sheet. This is a LINK HEAVY POST- everything clickable leads to research or a compilation of research.
All the lies I have heard over the years about coffee really stack up (click the links to see the real research:
- causing an angry liver (keep reading)
- coronary heart disease (opposite may be true) oh and this
- cancer (not true, in fact, it may be the temperature that causes cancer, which would include herbal teas) 1 2 3
- high blood pressure (and check this out, and this)
- Stroke and this
Have I given up the coffee, no. I mean, occasionally I fall to the pressure and feel so guilty about coffee consumption that I switch to tea… but I always come back. I love coffee, and I see zero reason to give up something I love, especially given some of the recent and promising research on coffee.
Hope for the Coffee Lovers
In a recent study that included 2,424 people (a fun number that I take as an omen that this is a legit study :P), ages 45 and up, from Rotterdam in The Netherlands. There were ultrasounds and blood work and physical exams, along with a long interview process where they spilled the details of their coffee and tea intake.
Coffee consumption was significantly associated with less scarring of liver tissue, even when lifestyle and dietary factors were controlled for. BETTER YET, frequent consumption of both coffee and tea was associated with less liver stiffness.
The fun news, is that the liver stiffness was lower even when consumed in small amounts! This means you do not HAVE to pound down 4 cups of coffee to love your liver.
Too Good To Be True?
It also doesn’t address the fact that maybe the LOVE people felt from the coffee and tea made their bodies stronger.
What CAN Coffee do that Helps Your Liver
Some of the previously known benefits to drinking coffee are:
- boosts metabolism
- caffeine in coffee can improve mood, reaction time, memory, vigilance and general cognitive function
- lowers risk of developing Type II Diabetes
- MAJOR source of antioxidants! Seriously!! (Check it: 1, 2, 3)
- lowers risk of DYING. Real *observational* study: Not a joke. (Other studies here and here)
- lowers risk of cirrhosis (ahem…also, this)
- lowers risk of some cancers (1 2 3)
- can improve depression and lower suicide risks
What Makes Coffee NOT Good For Your Liver
It is the junk you put in the coffee that makes your liver a little angry.
- Skip the sugar. Fructose is just as bad as alcohol for your liver! Opt for Manuka Honey if you NEED the sweetness.
- Stop drinking coffee after 2pm. it is a stimulant, so you do not want it to mess with your sleep cycles- that would anger the liver
- NEVER use artificial sweeteners or flavors.
- Skip the fat free creamer/skim milk, low fat. You want full fat dairy, preferably from grass fed cows.
- Get an unbleached filter or a reusable filter. Look into cold brew, single brew, etc.
- Chemicals. See below.
Chemicals. The elephant in the proverbial room is the nastiest. specifically, PESTICIDES. Listen. I get it. Organic, Sustainable, Shade Grown coffee is not cheap, and I understand that it isn’t as available as some other options. But it matters the most if you are going to be drinking 1-4 cups of coffee per day.
Coffee is one of the crops that is sprayed the most. Coffee is supposed to grow in the shade, but in order to grow more crops faster, growers have clear cut the trees and spray the plants with chemicals.